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B&H90 
.US'  2. 
I8Z6 
v.  A- 


I 


AN 


EXPOSITION 

OP  TUB 


Old  and  New  Testament: 


WHEREIN 


EACH  CHAPTER  IS  SUMMED  UP  IN  ITS  CONTENTS ;  THE  SACRED  TEXT  INSERTED 
AT  LARGE,  IN  DISTINCT  PARAGRAPHS ;  EACH  PARAGRAPH  REDUCED 
TO  ITS  PROPER  HEADS ;  THE  SENSE  GIVEN, 

AND  LARGELY  ILLUSTRATED ; 


WITH 

PRACTICAL  REMARKS  AND  OBSERVATIONS: 

/ 

BY  MATTHEW  HENRY. 


EDITED  BY 

THE  REV.  GEORGE  BURDER,  AND  THE  REV.  JOSEPH  HUGHES,  A.  M. 

WITH  THE 

LIFE  OF  THE  AUTHOR, 

BY  THE 

REV.  SAMUEL  PALMER. 

Jfiv  at  American  IS&ition: 

TO  WHICH  IS  PREFIXED, 

A  PREFACE, 

BY  ARCHIBALD  ALEXANDER,  D.  D. 

PROFESSOR  OF  THEOLOGY  IN  THE  SEMINARY  AT  PRINCETON,  M.  i. 


VOL.  IV. 


PHILADELPHIA  . 

ED.  BARRINGTON  &  GEO.  D.  HASWE'LL, 

MARKET  STREET. 


■  Z  i  H  T  !  >  i  /  H 

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■ 


AN 


EXPOSITION, 

» 

WITH 


PRACTICAL,  OBSERVATIONS, 


UPON  THE 


PROPHETICAL  BOOKS 


OF  THE 


OLD  TESTAMENT, 

/ 

KAMEL  Y, 


ISAIAH, 

JEREMIAH, 

LAMENTATIONS, 

EZEKIEL, 

DANIEL, 

HOSEA, 

JOEL, 

AMOS. 

OBADIAH, 


JONAH, 

MICAH, 

NAHUM, 

HABAKKUK, 

ZEPHANIAH, 

HAGGAI, 

ZECHARIAH, 

AND 

MALACHI. 


W  * 

V;- 


♦ 


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■  ><k>t  r  t  *  /  a 


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ili’l.  .Lf  I* 


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i 


THE 


PREFACE 

TO  THE 

PROPHETICAL  BOOKS. 


T^HOSE  books  of  scripture  are  all  prophetical,  of  which  here,  in  weakness ,  and  in  fear,  and  in  much 
trembling,  we  have  endeavoured  a  methodical  explication  and  a  practical  improvement.  I  call  them 
firofihetical,  because  so  they  are  for  the  main,  though  we  have  some  histories,  £here  and  there  brought 
in  for  the  illustration  of  the  prophecies,)  and  a  book  of  Lamentations.  Our  Saviour  often  puts  the  Law 
and  the  Profihets  for  the  Ola  Testament.  The  prophets,  by  waving  the  ceremonial  precepts,  and  not 
insisting  on  them,  but  only  on  the  weightier  matters  of  the  law,  plainly  intimated  the  abolishing  of  that 
part  of  the  law  of  Moses  by  the  gospel;  and  by  their  many  predictions  of  Christ,  and  the  kingdom  of  his 
grace,  they  intimated  the  accomplishing  and  perfecting  of  that  part  of  the  law  of  Moses  in  the  gospel. 
Thus  the  prophets  were  the  nexus — the  connecting  bond  between  the  law  and  the  gospel,  and  are 
therefore  fitly  placed  between  them. 

These  books,  being  prophetical,  are,  as  such,  divine,  and  of  heavenly  original  and  extraction.  We 
have  human  laws,  human  histories,  and  human  poems,  as  well  as  divine  ones,  but  we  can  have  no  human 
prophecies.  Wise  and  good  men  may  make  prudent  conjectures  concerning  future  events;  ( moral  firog- 
nostications  we  call  them;)  but  it  is  essential  to  true  prophecy  that  it  be  of  God.  The  learned  Huetius* 
lays  this  down  for  one  of  his  axioms,  Omnis  firofihetica  facultas  a  Deo  est — The  frofihetic  talent  is  en¬ 
tirely  from  God;  and  he  proves  it  to  be  the  sense  both  of  Jews  and  heathen,  that  it  is  God’s  prerogative 
to  foresee  things  to  come,  and  that  whoever  had  such  a  power,  had  it  from  God.  And  therefore  the  Jews 
reckon  all  prophecy  to  be  given  by  the  highest  degree  of  inspiration,  except  that  which  was  peculiat 
to  Moses.  When  our  Saviour  asked  the  chief  priests  whether  John’s  baptism  were  from  heaven,  or  of 
men,  they  durst  not  say,  Of  men,  because  the  people  counted  him  a  prophet,  and,  if  so,  then  not  of  men. 

The  Hebrew  name  for  a  prophet  is  tea) — a  sfieaker,  preacher,  or  orator,  a  messenger,  or  interpreter, 
that  delivers  God’s  messages  to  the  children  of  men;  as  a  herald  to  proclaim  war,  or  an  ambassador  to 
treat  of  peace.  But  then  it  must  be  remembered,  that  he  was  formerly  called  run  or  npn,  that  is,  c 
seer;  (1  Sam.  ix.  9.)  for  prophets,  with  the  eyes  of  their  minds,  first  saw  what  they  were  to  speak,  and 
then  spake  what  they  haa  seen. 

Prophecy,  taken  strictly,  is  the  foretelling  of  things  to  come;  and  there  were  those  to  whom  God  gave 
this  power,  not  only  that  it  might  be  a  sign  for  the  confirming  of  the  faith  of  the  church  concerning  the 
doctrine  preached,  when  the  things  foretold  should  be  fulfilled,  but  for  warning,  instruction,  and  comfort, 
in  prospect  of  what  they  themselves  might  not  live  to  see  accomplished,  but  which  should  be  fulfilled  in 
its  season;  so,  predictions  of  things  to  come  long  after,  might  be  of  present  use. 

The  learned  Dr.  Grewf  describes  prophecy  in  this  sense  to  be,  “  A  declaration  of  the  divine  pre¬ 
science,  looking  at  any  distance  through  a  train  of  infinite  causes,  known  and  unknown  to  us,  upon  a  sure 
and  certain  effect  ”  Whence  he  infers,  “  That  the  being  of  prophecies  supposes  the  non-being  of  con¬ 
tingents,  for  though  there  are  many  things  which  seem  to  us  to  be  contingents,  yet,  were  they  so  indeed, 
there  could  have  been  no  prophecy;  and  there  can  be  no  contingent  seemingly  so  loose  and  independent, 
but  it  is  a  link  of  some  chain.”  And  Huetius  gives  this  reason,  why  none  but  God  can  foretell  things  to 
come,  Because  every  effect  depends  upon  an  infinite  number  of  preceding  causes,  all  which,  in  their  or¬ 
der,  must  be  known  to  him  that  foretells  the  effect,  and  therefore  to  God  only,  for  he  alone  is  omniscient. 
So  Tully  argues;  Qui  teneat  causas  rerum  futurarum,  idem  necesse  est  omnia  teneat  gute  futurasint; 
quod  facere  nemo  nisi  Deus  potest — He  who  knows  the  causes  of  future  events,  must  necessarily  know 
the  events  themselves;  this  is  the  prerogative  of  God  alone. X  And  therefore  we  find  that  by  this  the  God 
of  Israel  proves  himself  to  be  God,  that  by  his  prophets  he  foretold  things  to  come,  which  came  to  pass 
according  to  the  prediction,  Isa.  xlvi.  9,  10.  And  by  this  he  disproves  the  pretensions  of  the  Pagan  deities, 
that  they  could  not  show  the  things  that  were  to  come  to  pass  hereafter,  Isa.  xli.  23.  Tertullian  proves 
the  divine  authority  of  the  scripture  from  the  fulfilling  of  scripture-prophecies,  Idoneum,  oflinor,  testi¬ 
monium  Divinitatis,  veritas  Divinationis — I  conceive  the  accomplishment  of  prophecy  to  be  a  satisfactory 
attestation  from  God. ||  And  beside  the  foretelling  of  things  to  come,  the  discovering  of  things  secret  by 
revelation  from  God  is  a  branch  of  prophecy,  as  Ahiiah’s  discovering  Jeroboam’s  wife  in  disguise,  an( 
Elisha’s  telling  Gehazi  what  passed  between  him  and  Naaman. 

But  §  prophecy,  in  scripture-language,  is  taken  more  largely  for  a  declaration  of  such  things  to  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  men,  either  by  word  or  writing,  as  God  has  revealed  to  them  that  speak  or  write  it,  by  vision, 
dream,  or  inspiration,  guiding  their  minds,  their  tongue,  and  pens,  by  his  Holy  Spirit,  anti  giving  them 
not  only  ability,  but  authority,  to  declare  such  things  in  his  name,  and  to  preface  what  they  say  with, 
Thus  saith  the  Lord.  In  this  sense  it  is  said,  The  prophecy  of  scripture  came  not  in  old  time  by  the  will 
of  man,  as  other  pious  moral  discourses  might,  but  holy  men  spake  and  wrote  as  they  were  moved  by  the 
Holy  Ghost,  2  Pet.  i.  20,  21.  The  same  Holy  Spirit  that  moved  upon  the  face  of  the  waters  to  produce 
the  world,  moved  upon  the  minds  of  the  prophets  to  produce  the  Bible. 


*  Demonstrat.  Evan  j  vag.  15. 
P  Apol  cap.  20. 


t  Cosmol.  Sacra,  lib.  4.  cap.  6« 

$  Du  Pin,  Hi«t.  of  the  Canon,  lib.  1.  cap.  2. 


t  Cicero  do  Divin  lib  1 


VI 


PREFACE. 


Now  I  think  it  is  worthy  to  be  observed,  that  all  nations,  having  had  some  sense  of  God  and  religion, 
have  likewise  had  a  nation  of  prophets  and  prophecy,  have  had  a  veneration  ft  r  them,  and  a  desire  and 
expectation  of  acquaintance  and  communion  with  the  gods  they  worshipped  in  that  way.  Witness  their 
oracles,  their  augurs,  and  the  many  arts  of  divination  they  had  in  use  among  them,  in  all  the  ages,  and  all 
the  countries,  of  the  world. 

It  is  commonly  urged  as  an  argument  against  the  Atneists,  to  prove  that  there  is  a  Gcd,  That  all  na¬ 
tions  of  the  world  acknowledged  some  god  or  other,  some  Being  above  them,  to  be  worshipped  and  prayed 
to,  to  be  trusted  in  and  praised;  the  most  ignorant  and  barbarous  nations  could  not  avoid  the  knowledge 
of  it;  the  most  learned  and  polite  nations  could  not  avoid  the  belief  of  it.  And  this  is  a  sufficient  proof 
of  the  general  and  unanimous  consent  of  mankind  to  this  truth;  though  far  the  greatest  part  of  men  made 
to  themselves  gods,  which  yet  were  no  gods.  Now  I  think  it  may  be  urged  with  equal  force  against  the 
Deists,  for  the  proof  of  a  divine  revelation,  that  all  nations  of  the  world  had,  and  had  veneration  for,  that 
which  they  at  least  took  to  be  a  divine  revelation,  and  could  not  live  without;  though  in  this  also  they  be¬ 
came  vain  in  their  imaginations,  and  their  foolish  heart  u<as  darkened.  But  if  there  were  not  a  true 
Deity,  and  a  true  prophecy,  there  would  never  have  been  pretended  deities  and  counterfeit  prophecies. 

Lycurgus  and  Numa,  those  two  great  lawgivers  of  the  Spartan  and  Roman  commonwealths,  brought 
their  people  to  an  observance  of  the  laws  by  possessing  them  with  a  notion  that  they  had  them  by  divinf. 
revelation,  and  so  making  it  a  point  of  religion  to  observe  them.  And  those  that  have  been  ever  so  little 
conversant  with  the  Greek  and  Roman  histories,  as  well  as  with  the  more  ancient  ones  of  Chaldea  and 
Egypt,  cannot  but  remember  what  a  profound  deference  their  princes  and  great  commanders,  and  not 
their  unthinking  commonalty  only,  paid  to  the  oracles  and  prophets,  and  the.  prognostications  of  their 
soothsayers,  which,  in  all  cases  of  importance,  were  consulted  with  abundance  of  gravity  and  solemnity; 
and  how  often  the  resolutions  of  councils,  and  the  motions  of  mighty  armies,  turned  upon  them,  though 
thev  appeared  ever  so  groundless  and  far-fetched. 

There  is  a  full  account  given  by  that  learned  philosopher  and  physician,  Casper  Peucer,*  of  the  many 
kinds  of  divination  and  prediction  used  among  the  Gentiles,  by  which  they  took  on  them  to  tell  the  for¬ 
tune  both  of  states  and  particular  persons.  They  were  all,  he  says,  reduced  by  Plato  to  two  heads;  Di- 
vinatio,  Mavrin),  which  was  a  kind  of  inspiration,  or  was  thought  to  be  so;  the  prophet  or  prophetess 
foretelling  things  to  come  by  an  internal  flatus  or  fury;  such  was  the  oracle  of  Apollo  at  Dclphos,  and 
that  of  Jupiter  Trophonius;  which,  with  others  like  them,  were  famous  for  many  ages,  during  the  pre¬ 
valency  of  the  kingdom  of  darkness,  but  (as  appears  by  some  of  the  Pagan  writers  themselves)  they  were 
all  silenced  and  struck  dumb,  when  the  gospel  (that  truly  divine  oracle)  began  to  be  preached  to  the  na¬ 
tions.  The  other  kind  of  divination  was  that  which  he  calls  0'imi<rrt*.»,  which  was  a  prognostication 
by  signs,  according  to  rules  of  art,  as  by  the  flight  of  birds,  the  entrails  of  beasts,  by  stars  or  mete¬ 
ors,  and  abundance  of  ominous  accidents,  with  which  a  foolish  world  was  miserably  imposed  upon.  A 
large  account  of  this  matter  we  have  also  in  the  late  learned  dissertations  of  Anton.  Van  Dale,  to  which 
I  refer  the  reader,  f 

But  nothing  of  this  kind  made  a  greater  noise  in  the  Gentile  world  than  the  oracles  of  the  Sybils,  and 
their  prophecies;  their  name  signifies  a  divine  counsel:  Sibyllx,  qu.  Siobulse;  Sios,  in  the  fEolic  dialect, 
being  put  for  Theos.  Peucer  says,  Almost  every  nation  had  its  Sibyls,  but  those  of  Greece  were  most 
celebrated.  They  lived  in  several  ages;  the  most  ancient  is  said  to  be  the  Sibylla  Delfihica,  who  lived 
before  the  Trojan  war,  or  about  that  time.  The  Sibylla  Erythrea  was  the  most  noted;  she  lived  about 
the  time  of  Alexander  the  Great.  But  it  was  the  Sibylla  Cumana  of  whom  the  story  goes,  that  she  pre¬ 
sented  herself,  and  nine  books  of  oracles,  to  Tarquinius  Superbus,  which  she  offered  to  sell  him  at  so 
vast  a  rate,  that  he  refused  to  purchase  them,  upon  which  she  burnt  three,  and,  upon  his  second  re¬ 
fusal,  the  other  three,  but  made  him  give  the  same  rate  for  the  remaining  three,  which  were  deposited 
with  great  care  in  the  Capitol.  But  those  being  afterward  burnt  accidentally  with  the  Capitol,  a  col¬ 
lection  was  made  of  the  other  Sibylline  oracles,  and  those  are  they  which  Virgil  refers  to  in  his  fourth 
Eclogue.  £ 

All  the  oracles  of  the  Sibyls  that  are  extant,  were  put  together,  and  published  in  Holland  not  many 
years  ago,  by  Servatius  Gallxus,  in  Greek  and  Latin,  with  large  and  learned  notes;  together  with  all  that 
could  be  met  with  of  the  metrical  oracles  that  go  under  the  names  of  Jupiter,  Apollo,  Serapis,  *md  others, 
by  Joannes  Osopxus. 

The  oracles  of  the  Sibyls  were  appealed  to  by  many  of  the  Fathers,  for  the  confirmation  of  the  Chris¬ 
tian  religion.  Justin  Martyr||  appeals  with  a  great  deal  of  assurance,  persuading  the  Greeks  to  give  credit 
to  that  ancient  Sibyl,  whose  works  were  extant  all  the  world  over;  and  to  their  testimony,  and  that  of  Hy- 
daspis,  he  appeals  concerning  the  general  conflagration,  and  the  torments  of  hell.  Clemens  Alexandri- 
nus§  often  quotes  the  Sibyls’  verses  with  great  respect;  so  does  Lactantius^f;  St.  Austin.**  Dc  Civitate 
Dei,  has  the  famous  acrostic  at  large,  said  to  be  one  of  the  oracles  of  the  Sibylla  Erythrea,  the  first  let¬ 
ters  of  the  verses  making  ’I»<r»c  Xpurrls  QiS  vii:  zZmp — Jesus  Christ  the  Son  of  God  the  Saviour.  Di¬ 
vers  passages  they  produce  out  of  these  oracles  which  expressly  foretell  the  coming  of  the  Messiah,  his 
being  born  of  a  virgin,  his  miracles,  his  sufferings,  particularly  his  being  buffetted,  spit  upon,  crowned 
with  thorns,  having  vinegar  and  gall  given  him  to  drink,  &c. 

Whether  these  oracles  were  genuine  and  authentic  or  no,  has  been  much  controverted  among  the 
learned.  Baronius  and  the  Popish  writers  generally  admit  and  applaud  them,  and  build  much  upon 
them;  so  do  some  Protestant  writers;  Isaac  Vossius  has  written  a  great  deal  to  support  the  reputation 
of  them,  and  (as  I  find  him  quoted  by  Van  Dale)  will  needs  have  it  that  they  were  formerly  a  part  of 
the  canon  of  scripture;  and  a  learned  prelate  of  our  own  nation,  Bishop  Montague,  pleads  largely,  and 
with  great  assurance,  for  their  authority,  and  is  of  opinion  that  some  of  them  were  divinely  inspired. 

But  many  learned  men  look  upon  it  to  be  a  pious  fraud,  as  they  call  it;  that  those  verses  of  the  Sibyls, 
which  speak  so  very  expressly  of  Christ  and  the  future  state,  were  forged  by  some  Christians,  and  im¬ 
posed  upon  the  over-credulous.  Huetius,ff  though  of  the  Romish  church,  condemns  both  the  ancient 
and  modern  composures  of  the  Sibyls,  and  refers  his  reader,  for  the  proof  of  their  vanity,  to  the  learned 
Blondel.  Van  Dale  and  Gallxus  look  upon  them  to  be  a  forgery.  And  the  truth  is,  they  speak  so  much 

*  Hi*  Prsacipuifl  Bivinationum  Gencribus,  A.  1591.  f  De  Ver;\  ac  Falsa  Prophetic,  A.  1696.  t  Vid.  Vir".  Aaneid,  lib.  6. 

||  Ad  Grrccos  Cohortat.  juzta  finem.  $  Apol.  2.  p.  mihi.  66. 1.  IT  Quroet.  et  Reapons  v  436 

•*  Aug.  do  Civ.  Dei,  lib  18.  cap.  23.  ft  Demonstrat.  p.  748. 


PREFACE. 


VII 


ni'  .reparticularly  and  plainly  concerning  our  Saviour  and  the  future  state,  than  any  of  the  prophets  of  the 
(fid  Testament  do,  that  we  must  conclude  St.  Paul,  who  was  the  apostle  of  the  Gentiles,  guilty  net  only 
of  a  very  great  omission,  (that  in  all  his  preaching  of  the  gospel  to  the  Gentiles,  and  in  all  his  epistles  to 
the  Gentile  churches,  he  never  so  much  as  mentions  the  prophecies  of  the  Sibyls,  nor  vouches  their  au¬ 
thority,  as  he  does  that  of  the  Old  Testament  prophets,  in  his  preaching  and  writing  to  the  Jews,)  but 
likewise  of  a  very  great  mistake,  in  making  it  the  particular  advantage  which  the  Jews  had  above  the 
Gentiles,  that  to  them  were  committed  the  oracles  of  God,  (Rom.  iii.  1,  2.)  and  that  they  were  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  the  prophets,  while  he  speaks  of  the  Gentiles  as  sitting  in  darkness,  and  being  afar  off.  We  can¬ 
not  conceive  that  heathen  women,  and  those  actuated  by  demons,  should  speak  more  clearly  and  fully  of 
the  Messiah  than  those  holy  men  did,  who,  we  are  sure,  were  moved  by  the  Holy  Ghost;  or  that  the 
Gentiles  should  be  instructed  with  larger  and  earlier  discoveries  of  the  great  salvation  than  that  people 
of  whom,  as  concerning  the  flesh,  Christ  was  to  come.  But  enough,  if  not  more  than  enough,  of  the  pre¬ 
tenders  to  prophecy.  It  is  a  good  remark  which  the  learned  Gallieus  makes  upon  the  great  veneration 
which  the  Romans  had  for  the  oracles  of  the  Sibyls,  for  which  he  quotes  Dionysius  Halicarnassccus,  OlSh 
«Tt  fjt-.ar^anr,  irTi  Inw  uri/xt.  are  Ufit,  ic  t«  CarfxTa — The  Romans  preserve  nothing 

with  such  sacred  care,  nor  do  they  hold  any  thing  in  stich  high  estimation,  as  the  Sibylline  oracles.  Hi  si 
pro  vitreis  suis  thesauris  adeo  decertarunt,  quid  nos  pro  genuinis  nostris,  a  Deo  inspiratis! — If  they  had 
such  a  value  for  these  counterfeits,  how  precious  should  the  true  treasure  of  the  divine  oracles  be  to  us! 
Of  these  we  come  next  to  speak. 

Prophecy,  we  are  sure,  was  of  equal  date  with  the  church;  for  faith  comes,  not  by  thinking  and  seeing, 
as  philosophy  does,  but  by  hearing,  by  hearing  the  word  of  God,  Rf  m.  x.  17.  In  the  antediluvian  period 
Ad.un  received  divine  revelation  in  the  promise  of  the  Seed  of  the  woman,  and,  no  doubt,  communicated 
it,  in  the  name  of  the  Lord,  to  his  seed,  and  was  prophet  as  well  as  priest,  to  his  numerous  family.  Enoch 
was  a  prophet,  and  foretold  perhaps  the  deluge,  however,  the  last  judgment,  that  of  the  great  day:  Be¬ 
hold,  the  Lord  comes,  Jude  14.  When  men  began,  as  a  church,  to  call  upon  the  name  of  the  Lord, 
(Gen  iv.  26.)  or  to  call  themselves  by  his  name,  they  were  blessed  with  prophets,  for  the  prophecy  came 
in  old  time;  (2  Pet.  i.  21.)  it  is  venerable  for  its  antiquity. 

When  God  renewed  his  covenant  of  providence  (and  that  a  figure  of  the  covenant  of  grace)  with  Noah 
and  his  sons,  we  soon  after  find  Noah,  as  a  prophet,  foretelling,  not  only  the  servitude  of  Canaan,  but 
G  >d’s  enlarging  Japhetby  Christ,  and  his  dwelling  in  the  tents  of  Shem,  Gen.  ix.  26,  27.  And  when, 
up.  n  the  general  revolt  of  mankind  to  idolatry,  (as,  in  the  former  period,  upon  the  apostacy  of  Cain))  God 
distinguished  a  church  for  himself  by  the  call  of  Abraham,  and  by  his  covenant  with  him  and  his  seed,  he 
conferred  upon  him  and  the  other  patriarchs  the  spirit  of  prophecy;  for  when  he  reproved  kings  for  their 
sakes,  he  said,  Touch  not  mine  anointed,  who  have  received  that  unction  from  the  Holy  One;  and  do  my 
prophets  no  harm,  Ps.  cv.  14,  15.  And  of  Abraham,  he  said  expressly,  He  is  a  prophet;  (Gen.  xx.  7.) 
for  it  was  with  a  prophetic  eye,  as  a  seer,  that  Abraham  saw  Christ’s  day,  (John  viii.  56.)  saw  it  at  so 
great  a  distance,  and  yet  with  so  great  an  assurance  triumphed  in  it.  And  Stephen  seems  to  speak  of  the 
first  settling  of  a  correspondence  between  him  and  God,  by  which  he  was  established  to  be  a  prophet, 
when  he  says,  The  Goa  of  glory  appeared  to  him,  (Acts  vii.  2.)  appeared  in  glory.  Jacob  upon  his  death¬ 
bed,  as  a  prophet,  told  his  sons  what  should  befall  them  in  the  last  days,  (Gen.  xlix.  1,  10.)  and  spake  very 
particularly  concerning  the  Messiah. 

Hitherto  was  the  infancy  of  the  church,  and  with  it  of  prophecy;  it  was  the  dawning  of  that  day;  and 
that  morning  light  owed  its  rise  to  the  Sun  of  righteousness,  though  he  rose  not  till  long  after;  but  it  shone 
more  and  more.  During  the  bondage  of  Israel  in  Egypt,  this,  as  other  glories  of  the  church,  was  eclipsed; 
but  as  the  church  made  a  considerable  and  memorable  advance  in  the  deliverance  of  Israel  out  of  Egypt, 
and  the  forming  of  them  into  a  people,  so  did  the  Spirit  of  prophecy  in  Moses,  the  illustrious  instrument 
employed  in  that  great  service;  and  it  was  by  that  Spirit  that  he  performed  that  service;  so  it  is  said,  Hos. 
xii.  13.  By  a  prophet  the  Lord  brought  Israel  out  of  Egypt,  and  by  a  prophet  was  he  preserved  through 
the  wilderness  to  Canaan,  by  Moses  as  a  prophet.  It  appears,  by  what  God  said  to  Aaron,  that  there 
were  then  other  prophets  among  them,  to  whom  God  made  known  himself  and  his  will  in  dreams  and  vi¬ 
sions,  (Numb.  xii.  6.)  but  to  Moses  he  spake  in  a  peculiar  manner,  mouth  to  mouth,  even  apparently,  and 
not  in  dark  speeches,  Numb.  xii.  8.  Nay,  such  a  plentiful  effusion  was  there  of  the  Spirit  of  prophecy  at 
that  time,  (because  Moses  was  such  a  prophet  as  was  to  be  a  type  of  Christ  the  great  Prophet,)  that  seme 
of  his  Spirit  was  put  upon  seventy  elders  of  Israel  at  once,  and  they  prophesied,  Numb.  xi.  25.  What 
they  said,  was  extraordinary,  and  not  only  under  the  direction  of  a  prophetic  inspiration,  but  under  the 
constraint  of  a  prophetic  impulse;  as  appears  by  the  case  of  Eldad  and  Medad. 

When  Moses,  that  great  prophet,  was  lying  down,  he  promised  Israel  that  the  Lord  God  would  raise 
'.hem  up  a  Prophet  of  their  brethren  like  unto  him,  Deut.  xviii.  15,  18.  In  these  words,  says  the  learned 
Bishop  Stillingfieet,  *  (though  in  their  full  and  complete  sense,  they  relate  to  Christ,  and  to  him  they  are 
more  than  once  applied  in  the  New  Testament,)  there  is  included  a  promise  of  an  order  of  prophets,  which 
should  succeed  Moses  in  the  Jewish  church,  and  be  the  Asyi*  — the  living  oracles  among  them, 

(Acts  vii.  38;)  by  which  they  might  know  the  mind  of  God.  For,  in  the  next  words,  he  lays  down  rules 
tor  the  trial  of  prophets,  whether  what  they  said  was  of  God  or  no.  And  it  is  observable,  that  that  pre¬ 
mise  comes  in  immediately  upon  an  express  prohibition  of  the  Pagan  rites  of  divination,  and  the  consulting 
of  wizards  and  familiar  spirits;  “  You  shall  not  need  to  do  that,”  (said  Moses,)  “  for,  to  vour  much  better 
satisfaction,  you  shall  have  prophets  divinely  inspired,  by  whom  you  may  know  from  God  himself  both 
what  to  do,  and  what  to  expect.” 

But  as  Jacob’s  dying  prophecy  concerning  the  sceptre  in  Judah,  and  the  lawgiver  between  his  feet,  did 
not  begin  to  be  remarkably  fulfilled  till  David’s  time,  most  of  the  Judges  being  of  other  tribes,  so  Moses’s 
promise  of  a  succession  of  prophets  began  not  to  receive  its  accomplishment  till  Samuel’s  time,  a  little  be¬ 
fore  the  other  promise  began  to  emerge  and  operate;  and  it  was  an  introduction  to  the  other,  for  it  was  by 
Samuel,  as  a  prophet,  that  David  was  anointed  king;  which  was  an  intimation  that  the  prophetical  office 
of  our  Redeemer  should  make  way,  both  in  the  world,  and  in  the  heart,  for  his  kingly  office;  and  therefore 
when  he  was  asked,  Art  thou  a  king'/  (John  xviii.  37. )  he  answered,  not  evasively,  but  very  pertinently,  I 
came  to  bear  witness  to  the  truth;  and  so  to  rule  as  a  king,  purely  by  the  power  "of  truth. 


*  Ori".  Sacr.  B.  2.  c  4. 


PREFACE. 


viii 

During  the  government  of  the  Judges,  there  was  a  pouring  out  of  the  Spirit,  but  more  as  a  Spirit  of  con¬ 
duct  and  courage  for  war,  than  as  a  Spirit  of  prophecy.  Deborah  is  indeed  called  a  prophetess,  because 
of  her  extraordinary  qualifications  forjudging  Israel;  but  that  is  the  only  mention  of  prophecy,  that  1  ri 
member,  in  all  the  book  of  Judges.  Extraordinary  messages  were  sent  by  angels,  as  to  Gideon  and  Ma 
noah;  and  it  is  expressly  said,  that  before  the  word  of  the  Lord  came  to  Samuel,  (1  Sam.  iii.  1.)  it  was 
precious,  it  was  very  scarce,  there  was  no  open  vision.  And  it  was  therefore  with  more  than  ordinary 
solemnity  that  the  word  of  the  Lord  came  first  to  Samuel;  and  by  degrees  notice  and  assurance  were  given 
to  all  Israel,  that  Samuel  was  established  to  be  a  prophet  of  the  Lord,  v.  20. 

In  Samuel’s  time,  and  by  him,  the  schools  of  the  prophets  were  erected,  by  which  prophecy  was  digni¬ 
fied,  and  provision  made  for  a  succession  of  prophets;  for  it  should  seem,  that,  in  those  colleges,  hopeful 
young  men  were  bred  up  in  devotion,  in  a  constant  attendance  upon  the  instruction  the  prophets  gave  from 
<  rod,  and  under  a  strict  discipline,  as  candidates,  or  probationers,  for  prophecy,  who  were  called  the  sons 
■jf  the  prophets;  and  their  religious  exercises  of  prayer,  conference,  and  psalmody  especially,  are  called 
prophecyings;  and  their  prefect,  or  president,  is  called  their  father,  1  Sam.  x.  12.  Out  of  these,  God, 
ordinarily,  chose  the  prophets  he  sent;  yet  not  always:  Amos  was  no  prophet,  or  prophet’s  son,  (Amos 
vii.  14. )  had  not  his  education  in  the  schools  of  the  prophets,  and  yet  was  commissioned  to  go  on  God’s  er¬ 
rands,  and  (which  is  observable)  though  he  had  not  an  academical  education  himself,  yet  he  seems  to  speak 
of  it  with  great  respect,  when  he  reckons  it  among  the  favours  God  had  bestowed  upon  Israel,  that  he 
raised  up  of  their  sons  for  prophets,  and  of  their  young  men  for  JVazarites,  Amos  ii.  11. 

It  is  worth  noting,  that  when  the  glory  of  the  priesthood  was  eclipsed  by  the  iniquity  of  the  house  of 
Eli,  the  desolations  of  Shiloh,  and  the  obscurity  of  the  ark,  there  was  then  a'  more  plentiful  effusion  of  the 
Spirit  of  prophecy  than  had  been  before;  a  standing  ministry  of  another  kind  was  thereby  erected,  and  a 
succession  of  it  kept  up.  And  thus  afterwards,  in  the  kingdom  of  the  ten  tribes,  where  there  was  no  legal 
priesthood  at  all,  yet  there  were  prophets  and  prophets’  sons;  in  Ahab’s  time,  we  meet  with  a  hundred  of 
them,  whom  Obadiah  hid  by  fifty  in  a  cave,  1  Kings  xviii.  4.  When  the  people  of  God,  who  desired  to 
know  his  mind,  wanted  one  way  of  instruction,  God  furnished  them  with  another,  and  a  less  ceremonious 
one;  for  he  left  not  himself  without  witness,  nor  them  without  a  guide.  And  when  they  had  no  temple  or 
altar,  that  they  could  attend  upon  with  any  safety  or  satisfaction,  they  had  private  meetings  at  the  pro¬ 
phets’  houses,  to  which  the  devout  faithful  worshippers  of  God  resorted,  (as  we  find  the  good  Shunamite 
did,  2  Kings  iv.  23. )  and  where  they  kept  their  new-moons,  and  their  sabbaths,  comfortably,  and  to  their 
edification. 

David  was  himself  a  prophet;  so  St.  Peter  calls  him;  (Acts  ii.  30.)  and  though  we  read  not  of  God’s 
speaking  to  him  by  dreams  and  visions,  yet  we  are  sure  that  Me  Spirit  of  the  Lord  spake  by  him,  and  his 
word  was  in  his  tongue;  (2  Sam.  xxiii.  2.)  and  he  had  those  about  him,  that  were  seers,  that  were  his 
seers,  as  Gad  and  Iddo,  that  brought  him  messages  from  God,  and  wrote  the  history  of  his  times.  And 
now  the  productions  of  the  Spirit  of  prophecy  were  translated  into  the  service  of  the  temple,  not  only  in 
the  model  of  the  house  which  the  Lord  made  David  understand  in  writing  by  his  hand  upon  him,  (1  Chron. 
xxviii.  19.)  but  in  the  worship  performed  there;  for  there  we  find  Asaph,  Heman,  and  Jeduthun,  pro¬ 
phesying  with  harps  and  other  musical  instruments,  according  to  the  order  of  the  king,  not  to  foretell  things 
to  come,  but  to  give  thanks,  and  to  praise  the  Lord;  (1  Chron.  xxv.  1 — 3.)  yet,  in  their  psalms,  they 
spake  much  of  Christ  and  his  kingdom,  and  the  glory  to  be  revealed. 

In  the  succeeding  reigns,  both  of  Judah  and  Israel,  we  frequently  meet  with  prophets  sent  on  particulai 
errands  to  Rehoboam,  Jeroboam,  Asa,  and  other  kings,  who,  it  is  probable,  instructed  the  people  in  the 
things  of  God  at  other  times,  though  it  is  not  recorded.  But  prophecy  growing  into  contempt  with  many, 
God  revived  the  honour  of  it,  and  put  a  new  lustre  upon  it,  in  the  power  given  to  Elijah  and  Elisha  to 
work  miracles,  and  the  great  things  that  God  did  by  them,  for  the  confirming  of  the  people’s  faith  in  it, 
and  the  awakening  of  their  regard  to  it,  2  Kings  ii.  3. — iv.  1,  38. — v.  22. — vi.  1.  In  their  time,  and  by  their 
agency,  it  should  seem,  the  schools  of  the  prophets  were  revived,  and  we  find  the  sons  of  the  prophets, 
fellows  of  those  sacred  colleges,  employed  in  carrying  messages  to  the  great  men,  as  to  Ahab,  (1  Kings 
xx.  35.)  and  to  Jehu,  2  Kings  ix.  1. 

Hitherto,  the  prophets  of  the  Lord  delivered  tlieir  messages  by  word  of  mouth;  only  we  read  of  one 
writing  which  came  from  Elijah  the  prophet  to  Jehoram  king  of  Israel,  2  Chron.  xxi.  12.  The  histories 
of  those  times,  which  are  left  us,  were  compiled  by  prophets,  under  a  divine  direction;  and  when  the 
Old  Testament  is  divided  into  the  Law  and  the  Prophets,  the  historical  books  are,  for  that  reason,  rec¬ 
koned  among  the  prophets.  But,  in  the  latter  times  of  the  kingdoms  of  Judah  and  Israel,  some  of  the  pro¬ 
phets  were  divinely  inspired  to  write  their  prophecies,  or  abstracts  of  them,  and  to  leave  them  upon  record, 
for  the  benefit  of  after  ages,  that  the  children  which  should  be  born  might  praise  the  Lord  for  them,  and, 
by  comparing  the  event  with  the  prediction,  might  have  their  faith  confirmed.  And,  probably,  those  later 
prophets  spake  more  fully  and  plainly  of  the  Messiah  and  his  kingdom  than  their  predecessors  had  done, 
and  for  that  reason  their  prophecies  were  putin  writing,  not  only  for  the  encouragement  of  the  pious  Jews 
that  looked  for  the  consolation  of  Israel,  but  for  the  use  of  us  Christians,  upon  whom  the  ends  of  the  world 
are  come,  as  David’s  psalms  had  been  for  the  same  reason,  that  the  Old  Testament  and  the  New  might 
mutually  give  light  and  lustre  to  each  other.  Many  other  faithful  prophets  there  were  at  the  same  time, 
who  spake  in  God’s  name,  who  did  not  commit  their  prophecies  to  writing,  but  were  of  those  whom  God 
sent,  rising  up  betimes,  and  sending  them;  the  contempt  of  whom,  and  of  their  messages,  brought  ruin 
without  remedy  upon  that  sottish  people,  that  knew  not  the  day  of  their  visitation. 

In  their  captivity,  they  had  some  prophets,  some  to  show  them  how  long;  and  though  it  was  not  by  ;; 
prophet,  like  Moses,  that  they  were  brought  up  out  of  Babylon,  as  they  had  been  out  of  Egypt,  but  by 
Joshua  the  High  Priest  first,  and  afterward  by  Ezra  the  scribe,  to  show  that  God  can  do  his  work  by  or 
dinary  means  when  he  pleases;  yet,  soon  after  their  return,  the  Spirit  of  prophecy  was  poured  out  plenti¬ 
fully,  and  continued  (according  to  the  Jews’  computation)  forty  years  in  the  second  temple,  but  ceased  in 
Malachi.  Then  (say  the  Rabbins)  the  Holy  Spirit  was  taken  from  Israel,  and  they  had  the  benefit  only 
of  the  Bathkdl,  the  daughter  of  a  voice,  a  voice  from  heaven,  which  they  look  upon  to  be  the  lowest  de¬ 
gree  of  divine  revelation.  Now  herein  they  are  witnesses  against  themselves  for  rejecting  the  true  Mes¬ 
siah;  for  our  Lord  Jesus,  and  he  only,  was  spoken  to  by  a  voice  from  heaven  at  his  baptism,  his  transfigu 
ration,  and  his  entrance  on  his  sufferings. 

In  John  the  Baptist  prophecy  revived,  and  therefore  in  him  the  gospel  is  said  to  begin,  when  the  churc* 


PREFACE. 


IX 


find  had  no  prophets  for  above  300  years.  We  have  not  only  the  vox  populi — the  voice  of  the  people,  to  prove 
John  a  prophet,  for  all  the  people  counted  him  so,  but  vox  Dei — the  voice  of  God  too;  for  Christ  calls 
him  a  prophet,  Matth.  xi.  9,  10.  He  had  an  extraordinary  commission  from  God  to  call  people  tore 
pent.mce,  was  filled  with  the  Holy  Ghost  from  his  mother's  womb,  and  was  therefore  called  the  prophet 
of  the  Highest,  because  he  went  before  the  face  of  the  Lord,  to  prepare  his  way;  (Luke  i.  15,  16.)  and 
though  he  did  no  miracle,  nor  gave  any  sign  or  wonder,  yet  this  proved  him  a  true  prophet,  that  all  he 
said  of  Christ  was  true,  John  x.  41.  Nay,  and  this  proved  him  more  than  a  prophet,  than  any  of  the 
other  prophets,  that  whereas  by  other  prophets  Christ  was  discovered  as  at  a  great  distance,  by  him  he 
was  discovered  as  already  come,  and  he  was  enabled  to  say,  Behold  the  Lamb  of  God. 

But  after  the  ascension  of  our  Lord  Jesus  there  was  a  more  plentiful  effusion  of  the  Spirit  of  prophecy 
than  ever  before;  then  was  the  promise  fulfilled,  that  God  would  pour  out  his  Spirit  upon  all  flesh,  (and 
not  as  hitherto  upon  the  Jews  only,)  and  their  sons  and  their  daughters  should  prophesy,  Acts  ii.  16,  & c. 
The  gift  of  tongues  was  one  new  product  of  the  Spirit  of  prophecy,  and  given  for  a  particular  reason, 
that  the  Jewish  pale  being  taken  down,  all  nations  might  be  brought  into  the  church.  These  and  other 
gifts  of  prophecy',  being  for  a  sign,  are  long  since  ceased,  and  laid  aside,  and  we  have  no  encouragement 
to  expect  the  revival  of  them;  but,  on  the  contrary,  are  directed  to  call  the  scriptures  the  more  sure  word 
of  prophecy,  more  sure  than  voices  from  heaven;  and  to  them  we  are  directed  to  take  heed,  to  search 
them,  and  to  hold  them  fast,  2  Pet.  i.  19.  All  God’s  spiritual  Israel  know  that  they  are  established  to 
be  the  oracles  of  God,  (1  Sam.  iii.  20.)  and  if  any  add  to,  or  take  from,  the  book  of  that  prophecy,  they 
may  read  their  doom  in  the  close  of  it;  God  shall  take  blessings  from  them,  and  add  curses  to  them, 
Rev.  xxii.  18,  19. 

Now  concerning  the  prophets  of  the  Old  Testament,  whose  writings  are  before  us;  observe, 

I.  That  they  were  all  holy  men;  we  are  assured  by  the  apostle,  that  the  prophecy  came  in  old  time  by 
holy  men  of  God,  (and  men  of  God  they  were  commonly  called,  because  they  were  devoted  to  him,) 
who  spake  as  they  were  moved  by  the  Holy  Ghost.  They  were  men,  subject  to  like  passions  as  we  arc, 
(so  Elijah,  one  of  the  greatest  of  them,  is  said  to  have  been.  Jam.  v.  17.)  but  they  were  holy  men, 
men  that  in  the  temper  of  their  minds,  and  the  tenour  of  their  lives,  were  examples  of  serious  piety. 
Though  there  were  many  pretenders,  that,  without  warrant,  said,  Thus  saith  the  Lord,  when  he  sent 
them  not;  and  some  that  prophesied  in  Christ’s  name,  but  he  never  knew  them,  and  they  indeed  were 
workers  of  iniquity;  (Matth.  vii.  22,  23.)  and  though  the  cursing,  blaspheming  lips  of  Balaam  and  Caia- 
phas,  even  then  when  they  actually  designed  mischief,  were  overruled  to  speak  oracles;  yet  none  were 
emploved  and  commissioned  to  speak  as  prophets,  but  those  that  had  received  the  Spirit  of  grace  and 
sanctification;  for  holiness  becomes  God’s  house. 

The  Jewish  doctors  universally  agree  in  this  rule.  That  the  Spirit  of  prophecy  never  rests  upon  any  but 
a  holy  and  wise  man,  and  one  whose  passions  are  allayed;*  or,  as  others  express  it,  an  humble  man,  and 
a  man  of  fortitude;  one  that  has  power  to  keep  his  sensual,  animal  part  in  due  subjection  to  religion  and 
right  reason.  And  some  of  themf  give  this  rule;  That  the  Spirit  of  prophecy  does  not  reside  where 
there  are  either,  on  the  one  hand,  grief  and  melancholy,  or,  on  the  other  hand,  laughter  and  lightness  of 
behaviour,  and  impertinent,  idle  talk:  and  it  is  commonly  observed  by  them,  both  from  the  musical  in 
struments  used  in  the  schools  of  the  prophets  in  Samuel’s  time,  and  from  the  instance  of  Elisha’s  calling 
fra  minstrel,  (2  Kings  iii.  15.)  that  the  divine  presence  does  not  reside  with  sadness,  but  with  cheerful¬ 
ness;  and  Elisha,  they  say,  had  not  yet  recovered  himself  from  the  sorrow  he  conceived  at  parting  with 
Elijah.  They  have  also  a  tradition,  (but  I  know  no  ground  for  it,)  that  all  the  while  Jacob  mourned  for 
Joseph,  the  Shechinah,  or  Holy  Spirit,  withdrew  from  him.  Yet  I  believe,  when  David  intimates  that 
by  Ins  sin  in  the  matter  of  Uriah  he  had  lost  the  right  Spirit,  and  the  free  Spirit,  Ps.  li.  10,  12.  (which 
therefore  he  begs  might  be  renewed  in  him,  and  restored  to  him,)  it  was  not  because  he  was  under  grief, 
but  because  he  was  under  guilt.  And  therefore,  in  order  to  the  return  of  that  right  and  free  Spirit,  he 
prays  that  God  would  create  in  him  a  clean  heart. 

It.  That  they  had  all  a  full  assurance  in  themselves  of  their  divine  mission;  and  (though  they  could  net 
always  prevail  to  satisfy  others)  they  were  abundantly  satisfied  themselves,  that  what  they  delivered  as 
from  God,  and  in  his  name,  was  indeed  from  him ;  and  with  the  same  assurance  did  the  apostles  speak  of 
the  word  of  life,  as  that  which  they  had  heard,  and  seen,  and  looked  on,  and  which  their  hands  had 
handled,  1  John  i.  1.  Nathan  spake  from  himself,  when  he  encouraged  David  to  build  the  temple,  but 
afterward  knew  he  spake  from  God,  when,  in  his  name,  he  forbade  him  to  doit. 

God  had  various  ways  of  making  known  to  his  prophets  the  messages  they  were  to  deliver  to  his  people; 
it  should  seem,  ordinarily,  to  have  been  by  the  ministry  of  angels.  In  the  Apocalypse,  Christ  is  expressly 
said  to  have  signified  by  his  angel  to  his  servant  John,  Rev.  i.  1.  It  was  sometimes  done  in  a  vision,  when 
the  prophet  was  awake;  sometimes  in  a  dream,  when  the  prophet  was  asleep;  and  sometimes  bv  a  secret 
nut  strong  impression  upon  the  mind  of  the  prophet.  But  Maimonides  has  laid  down,  as  a  maxim,  Tha! 
all  prophecy  makes  itself  known  to  the  prophet  that  it  is  prophecy  indeed;  that  is,  says  another  of  the 
Rabbins,  By  the  vigour  and  liveliness  of  the  perception,  whereby  he  apprehends  the  thing  propounded; 
(which  Jeremiah  intimates  when  he  says,  The  word  of  the  Lord  was  as  a  fire  in  my  bones,  Jer.  xx.  9.) 
and  therefore  they  always  spake  with  great  assurance,  knowing  they  should  be  justified.  Isa.  1.  7. 

III.  That  in  their  prophesying,  both  in  receiving  their  message  from  God,  and  in  delivering  it  to  the 
people,  they  always  kept  possession  of  their  own  souls,  Dan.  x.  8.  Though  sometimes  their  bodily 
strength  was  overpowered  by  the  abundance  of  the  revelations,  and  their  eyes  dazzled  with  the  visionary 
light,  as  in  the  instances  of  Daniel  and  John,  (Rev.  i.  17.)  yet  still  their  understanding  remained  with 
them,  and  the  free  exercise  of  their  reason.  This  is  excellently  well  expressed  by  a  learned  writer  cf 
our  own;}:  “  The  prophetical  Spirit,  seating  itself  in  the  rational  powers,  as  well  as  in  the  imagination, 
did  never  alienate  the  mind,  but  inform  and  enlighten  it;  and  they  that  were  actuated  bv  it,  alwavs  mair- 
t  lined  a  clearness  and  consistency  of  reason,  with  strength  and  solidity  rf  judgment.  For,”  (says  lie  after 
w',rds,§)  “  God  did  not  make  use  of  idiots  or  fools  to  reveal  his  will  by,  but  such  whose  intellectuals  were 
entire  and  perfect;  and  he  imprinted  such  a  clear  copy  of  his  truth  upon  them,  as  that  it  became  then 
own  sense,  being  digested  fully  into  their  understandings,  so  that  they  were  able  to  deliver  and  represent 
:  toothers,  as  truly  as  any  can  point  forth  his  own  thoughts.”  God’s  messengers  were  speaking  men, 
•tot  speaking  trumpets. 

*  Sec  Mr.  Smith  of  Prophecy.  *  'Jemara  Schnb.  r.  2.  t  Smith  of  Prophecy,  p.  190.  $  Pag.  26G. 

Vol.  iv. —  B 


PREFACE. 


The  Fathers  frequently  took  notice  of  this  difference  between  the  prophets  of  the  Lord  and  the  false 
prophets — that  the  pretenders  to  prophecy  (who  either  were  actuated  by  an  evil  spirit,  or  were  under 
the  force  of  a  heated  imagination)  underwent  alienations  of  mind,  and  delivered  what  they  had  to  say  ir. 
the  utmost  agitation  and  disorder,  as  the  Pythian  prophetess,  who  delivered  her  infernal  oracles  witl. 
many  antic  gestures,  tearing  her  hair,  and  foaming  at  the  mouth.  And  by  this  rule  they  condemned  the 
Montanists,  who  pretended  to  prophecy,  in  the  second  century,  that  what  they  said  was  in  a  way  of  ec- 
stacy,  not  like  rational  men,  but  like  men  in  a  frenzy.  Chrysostom,*  having  described  the  furious,  violent 
motions  of  the  pretenders  to  prophecy,  adds,  'O  Si  n^<p»Ti);  ii#: — A  true  prophet  does  not  do  so,  Sed 
mcnte  sobrid,  isf  constanti  animi  statu,  ist  intelligens  qure  profert,  omnia  jironunciat — He  understands 
what  be  utters ,  and  utters  it  soberly  and  calmly.  And  Jerom,  in  his  preface  to  his  Commentaries  upi  n 
Nahum,  observes,  that  it  is  called  the  book  of  the  vision  of  Nahum;  Non  enim  loquitur  h  sko-t  d?u,  sect  est 
liber  intelligentis  omnia  quee  loquitur — For  he  speaks  not  in  an  ecstacy,  but  as  one  who  understands  every 
thing  he  says.  And  again,!  JVon  ut  amens  loquitur  propheta,  nec  in  tnorem  insanientium  fsminarum 
d at  sine  mente  sonum — The  prophet  speaks  not  as  an  insane  person ,  nor,  like  women  wrought  into  a  fury, 
does  he  utter  sound  nvithout  sense. 

IV.  That  they  all  aimed  at  one  and  the  same  thing,  which  was,  to  bring  people  to  repent  of  their  sins, 
and  to  return  to  God,  and  to  do  their  duty  to  him.  This  was  the  errand  on  which  all  God’s  messengers 
were  sent,  to  beat  down  sin,  and  to  revive  and  advance  serious  piety;  the  burthen  of  every  song  was, 
Turn  ye  now  every  one  from  his  evil  way ;  amend  your  ways  and  your  doings,  and  execute  judgment 
between  a  man  and  his  neighbour,  Jer.  vii.  3,  5.  See  Zech.  vii.  8,  9. — viii.  16.  The  scope  and  design 
of  all  their  prophecies  were,  to  enforce  the  precepts  and  sanctions  of  the  law  of  Moses,  the  moral  law, 
which  is  of  universal  and  perpetual  obligation.  Here  is  nothing  of  the  ceremonial  institutes,  of  the  carnal 
ordinances,  that  were  imposed  only  till  the  times  of  reformation,  Heb.  ix.  10.  These  were  now  waxing 
old,  and  ready  to  vanish  away;  but  they  make  it  their  business  to  press  the  great  and  weighty  matters  of 
the  law,  judgment,  mercy,  and  truth. 

V.  That  they  all  bare  witness  to  Jesus  Christ,  and  had  an  eye  to  him.  God’s  raising  up  the  horn  of  sal¬ 
vation  for  us,  in  the  house  of  his  servant  David,  was  consonant  to,  and  in  pursuance  of,  what  he  spake  by 
the  mouth  of  his  holy  prophets,  which  have  been  since  the  world  began,  Luke  i.  69,  "0.  They  prophesied 
of  the  grace  that  should  come  to  us,  and  it  was  the  Spirit  of  Christ  in  them,  one  and  the  same  Spirit,  that 
testified  beforehand  the  sufferings  of  Christ,  and  the  glory  that  should  follow,  1  Pet.  i.  10,  11.  Christ 
was  then  made  known,  and  yet  comparatively  hid,  in  the  predictions  of  the  prophets,  as  before  in  the 
types  of  the  ceremonial  law.  And  the  learned  HuetiusJ  observes  it  as  really  admirable,  that  so  many 
persons  in  different  ages,  should  conspire  with  one  consent,  as  it  were,  to  foretell,  some  one  particular, 
and  others  another,  concerning  Christ,  all  which  had,  at  length,  their  full  accomplishment  in  him.  Ab 
ipsis  mundi  incunabulis,  per  quatuor  annorum  millia,  uno  ore  venturum  Christum  priedixerunt  viri 
complures,  in  ejusque  ortu,  vita,  virtutibus,  rebus  gestis,  morte,  ac  Iota  denique  0’nu.v.ui* prxmonstranda 
consenserunt — From  the  earliest  period  of  time  for  4000  years,  a  great  number  of  men  have  predicted 
the  advent  of  Christ,  and  presented  an  harmonious  statement  of  his  birth,  life,  character,  act  ons,  and 
death ,  and  of  that  economy  which  he  came  to  establish. 

VI.  That  these  prophets  were  generally  hated  and  abused  in  their  several  generations  bv  those  that 
lived  with  them.  Stephen  challenges  his  judges  to  produce  an  instance  to  the  contrary;  fThich  of  the 
'irophets  have  not  your  fathers  persecuted?  Yea,  and,  as  it  should  seem,  for  this  reason,  because  they 
showed  before  of  the  coming  of  the  Just  One,  Acts  vii.  52.  Some  there  were,  that  trembled  at  the  word 
of  God  in  their  mouths,  but  by  the  most  they  were  ridiculed  and  despised,  and  (as  ministers  are  now  bv 
profane  people)  made  a  jest  of;  (Hos.  ix.  7.)  the  prophet  was  the  fool  in  the  play.  Wherefore  came  this 
mad  fellow  unto  thee?  (2  Kings  ix.  11.)  said  one  of  the  captains  concerning  one  of  the  sons  of  the  prophets! 
The  Gentiles  never  treated  their  false  prophets  so  ill  as  the  Jews  did  their  true  prophets,  but,  on  the 
contrary,  had  them  always  in  veneration.  The  Jews’  mocking  of  the  messengers  of  the  Lord,  killing  of 
the  prophets,  and  stoning  of  them  that  were  sent  unto  them,  was  as  amazing,  unaccc  untable  an  instance  of 
the  enmity  that  is  in  the  carnal  mind  against  God,  as  any  that  can  be  produced.  And  this  makes  their 
rejection  of  Christ’s  gospel  the  less  strange,  that  the  Spirit  of  prophecy,  which,  for  many  ages,  was  so 
much  the  glory  of  Israel,  in  every  age  met  with  so  much  opposition,  and  there  were  those  that  always 
resisted  the  Holy  Ghost  in  the  prophets,  and  turned  that  glory  into  shame,  Acts  vii.  51.  But  this  was  it 
that  was  the  measure-filling  sin  of  Israel,  that  brought  upon  them  both  their  first  destruction  by  the  Chal 
deans,  and  their  final  ruin  by  the  Romans,  2  Chron.  xxxvi.  16. 

VII.  That  though  men  slighted  these  prophets,  God  owned  them,  and  put  honour  upon  them.  As 
they  were  men  of  God,  his  immediate  servants,  and  his  messengers,  so  he  always  showed  himself  the 
I.ord  God  of  the  holy  prophets,  (Rev.  xxii.  6.)  stood  by  them  and  strengthened  them,  and  by  his  Spirit 
they  were  full  of  power;  and  those  that  slighted  them,  when  they  had  lost  them,  were  made  to  know,  to 
their  confusion,  that  a  prophet  had  been  among  them.  What  was  said  < f  one  of  the  primitive  fathers  of 
the  prophets,  was  true  of  them  all,  The  Lord  was  with  them,  and  did  let  none  of  their  words  fall  to  the 
ground,  1  Sam.  iii.  19.  What  they  said  by  way  of  warning  and  encouragement,  for  the  enforcing  of  their 
calls  to  repentance  and  reformation,  was  to  be  understood  cenditionallv.  When  God  spake  by  them 
either,  on  the  one  hand,  to  build  and  to  plant,  or,  on  the  other  hand,  to  pluck  up  and  pull  down,  the 
change  of  the  people’s  way  might  produce  a  change  of  God’s  way,  (Jer.  xviii.  7 — 10.)  such  was  Jois  h’s 
prophecy  of  Nineveh’s  min  within  forty  days;  or  God  might  sometimes  be  better  than  his  word  in  grant¬ 
ing  a  reprieve.  But  what  they  said  by  way  of  prediction  of  a  particular  matter,  and  ;  s  a  sign,  did  always 
come  to  pass  exactly  as  it  was  foretold;  yea,  and  the  general  predictions,  sooner  or  later,  took  hold  even 
of  those  that  would  fain  have  got  clear  of  them;  (Zech.  i.  6. )  for  this  is  that  which  God  glories  in,  that  hr 
confirms  the  word  of  his  servants,  and  performs  the  counsel  of  his  messengers,  Isa.  xliv.  26. 

In  opening  these  prophecies,  I  have  endeavoured  to  give  the  genuine  sense  of  them,  as  f  ir  as  I  could 
reach  it,  by  consulting  the  best  expositors,  considering  the  scope  and  coherence,  and  comparing  spiritual 
tilings  with  spiritual,  the  spiritual  things  of  the  Old  Testament  with  those  of  the  New,  and  especially  bv 
prayer  to  God  for  the  conduct  and  direction  of  the  Spirit  of  truth.  But,  after  all,  there  are  many  things 
here  dark  and  hard  to  be  understood,  concerning  the  certain  meaning  of  which  though  1  could  irt  gain 
myself,  much  less  expect  to  give  my  reader,  full  satisfaction,  yet  I  have  n- 1,  with  the  unlearned  and  tin 

*  In  1  Cor.  xii.  1.  f  Prolog,  in  Tiabac.  J  Deir.onstrat.  Evnng.  |>.  737 


PREFACE. 


xi 


stable,  wrested  them  to  the  destruction  of  any,  2  Pet.  iii.  16.  It  is  the  prerogative  of  the  Lamb  of  God  to 
take  this  book,  and  to  open  all  its  seals.  I  have  likewise  endeavoured  to  accommodate  these  prophecies 
to  the  use  and  service  of  those  who  desire  to  read  the  scripture,  net  only  with  understanding,  hut  with 
pious  affections,  and  to  their  edification  in  faith  and  holiness.  And  we  shall  find  that  whatever  is  given 
by  the  inspiration  of  God  is  profitable,  (2  Tim.  iii.  16.)  though  not  all  alike  profitable,  nor  all  alike  easy 
or  improvable;  but  when  the  mystery  of  God  shall  be  finished,  we  shall  see  what  we  are  now  bound  to 
believe,  that  there  is  not  one  idle  word  in  all  the  prophecies  of  this  book.  What  God  has  said,  as  well  as 
what  he  does,  we  know  not  now,  but  we  shall  know  hereafter. 

The  pleasure  I  have  had  in  studying  and  meditating  upon  those  parts  of  these  prophecies  which  arc- 
plain  and  practical,  and  especially  those  which  are  evangelical,  has  been  an  abundant  balance  to,  and  re¬ 
compense  for,  the  harder  tasks  we  have  met  with  in  other  parts  that  are  more  obscure.  In  many  parts 
of  this  field,  the  treasure  must  be  digged  for,  as  that  in  the  mines;  but  in  other  parts  the  surface  is  covered 
with  rich  and  precious  products,  with  corn,  and  flocks,  of  which  we  may  say,  as  we  said  of  Noah,  These 
same  have  comforted  us  greatly  concerning  our  work,  and  the  toil  of  our  hands,  and  have  made  it  verv 
pleasant  and  delightful;  God  grant  it  may  be  no  less  so  to  the  readers! 

And  now  let  me  desire  the  assistance  of  my  friends,  in  setting  up  my  Eben-Ezer  here,  in  a  thankful 
acknowledgment  that  hitherto  the  Lord  has  helped  me.  I  desire  to  praise  God  that  he  lias  spared  mv 
life  to  finish  the  Old  Testament,  and  has  graciously  given  me  some  tokens  of  his  presence  with  me  in  car 
rying  on  of  this  work;  though,  the  more  I  reflect  upon  myself,  the  more  unworthy  I  see  myself  of  the 
honour  of  being  thus  employed,  and  the  more  need  I  see  of  Christ  and  his  merit  and  grace.  Remember 
me,  0  my  God,  for  good,  and  spare  me  according  to  the  multitude  of  thy  mercies.  The  Lord  forgive 
what  is  mine,  and  accept  what  is  his  own ! 

I  purpose,  if  God  continue  my  life  and  health,  according  to  the  measure  of  the  grace  given  to  me,  and 
in  a  constant  and  entire  dependence  upon  divine  strength,  to  go  through  the  New  Testament  in  twe 
volumes  more.  I  intimated  in  my  preface  to  the  first  volume,  that  I  had  drawn  up  some  expositions  upor. 
some  parts  of  the  New  Testament;  namely ,  The  gospels  of  St.  Matthew  and  St.  John;  but  they  are  so 
large,  that  to  make  them  bear  some  proportion  to  the  rest,  it  is  necessary  that  they  be  much  contracted, 
so  that  I  shall  be  obliged  to  write  them  all  over  again,  and  to  make  considerable  alterations,  and  therefore 
I  cannot  expect  they  should  be  published  but  as  these  hitherto  have  been,  if  God  permit,  a  volume  every 
other  year.  I  shall  begin  it  now  shortly,  if  the  Lord  will,  and  apply  myself  to  it  as  closely  as  I  can;  and 
I  earnestly  desire  the  prayers  of  all  that  wish  well  to  the  undertaking,  that  if  the  Lord  spare  me  to  go  on 
with  it,  I  may  be  enabled  to  do  it  well,  and  so  as  that  by  it  some  may  be  led  into  the  riches  of  the  full  as¬ 
surance  of  understanding  in  the  mystery  of  God,  even  of  the  Father,  and  of  Christ,  Col.  li.  2.  And  if 
it  shall  please  God  to  remove  me  by  death  before  it  is  finished,  I  trust  I  shall  be  able  to  say  not  only. 
Welcome  his  blessed  will,  but,  Welcome  that  blessed  world,  in  which,  though  now  we  know  but  in  part 
and  prophesy  but  in  part,  that  knowledge  which  is  perfect  will  come,  and  that  which  is  partial,  will  b- 
done  away;  (1  Cor.  xiii.  8. — 10,  12.)  in  which  all  our  mistakes  will  be  rectified,  all  our  doubts  resolved 
all  our  deficiences  made  up,  all  our  endeavours  in  preaching,  catechizing,  and  expounding,  supersedec 
and  rendered  useless,  and  all  our  prayers  swallowed  up  in  everlasting  praises;  in  which,  prophecy,  now 
so  much  admired,  shall  fail,  and  tongues  shall  cease;  and  the  knowledge  we  have  now,  shall  vanish  away, 
as  the  light  of  the  morning-star  does  when  the  sun  is  risen;  in  which  we  shall  no  longer  see  through  a 
glass  darkly,  but  face  to  face.  In  a  believing,  comfortable,  well-grounded  expectation  of  that  true  and 
perfect  light,  I  desire  to  continue,  living  and  dying;  in  a  humble  and  diligent  preparation  for  it,  let  me 
spend  my  time,  and  in  the  full  enjoyment  of  it,  O  that  I  may  spend  a  glorious  eternity ! 


Jult  18,  1712. 


M.  H 


AN 


EXPOSITION, 


WITH 


PRACTICAL  OBSERVATIONS, 


OF  THE 


BOOK  OF  THE  PROPHET 


ISAIAH. 


Prophet  is  a  title  that  sounds  very  great  to  those  who  understand  it,  though,  in  the  eye  of  the  world, 
many  of  those  who  were  dignified  with  it,  appeared  very  mean.  A  prophet  is  one  who  has  a  great  in¬ 
timacy  with  Heaven,  and  a  great  interest  there,  and,  consequently,  a  commanding  authority  upon  earth. 
Prophecy  is  put  for  all  divine  revelation,  (2  Pet.  i.  20,  21.)  because  that  was  most  commonly,  by 
dreams,  voices,  or  visions,  communicated  to  prophets  first,  and  by  them  to  the  children  of  men,  Numb, 
xii.  6.  Once  indeed  God  himself  spake  to  all  the  thousands  of  Israel,  from  the  top  of  Mount  Sinai;  but 
it  was  so  intolerably  dreadful,  that  they  entreated  God  would,  for  the  future,  speak  to  them  as  he  had 
done  before,  by  men  like  themselves,  whose  terror  should  not  make  them  afraid,  nor  their  hands  be 
heavy  ufion  them.  Job  xxxiii.  7.  God  approved  the  motion;  They  have  well  said;  (says  he,  Deut.  v 
27,  28. )  and  the  matter  was  then  settled  by  consent  of  parties,  that  we  must  never  expect  to  hear  from 
God  any  more  in  that  way,  but  by  prophets,  who  received  their  instructions  immediately  from  God, 
with  a  charge  to  deliver  them  to  his  church.  Before  the  sacred  canon  of  the  Old  Testament  began  to 
be  written,  there  were  prophets,  who  were  instead  of  Bibles  to  the  church.  Our  Saviour  seems  to 
reckon  Abel  among  the  prophets,  Matth.  xxiii.  31,  35.  Enoch  was  a  prophet;  and  by  him  that  was 
first  in  prediction,  which  is  to  be  last  in  execution — the  judgment  of  the  great  day;  (Jude  14.)  Behold, 
the  Lord  comes  with  his  holy  myriads.  Noah  was  a  preacher  of  righteousness.  God  said  of  Abraham, 
He  is  a  firofihet,  Gen.  xx.  7.  Jacob  foretold  things  to  come,  Gen.  xlix.  1.  Nay,  all  the  patriarchs  are 
called  firofihets;  (Ps.  cv.  15.)  Do  my  firofihets  no  harm.  Moses  was,  beyond  all  comparison,  the  most 
illustrious  of  all  the  Old  Testament  prophets,  for  with  him  the  Lord  sfiake  face  to  face,  Deut.  xxxiv. 
10.  He  was  the  first  writing  prophet,  and  by  his  hand  the  first  foundations  of  holy  writ  were  laid;  even 
those  who  were  called  to  be  his  assistants  in  the  government,  had  the  Spirit  of  prophecy,  such  a  plenti¬ 
ful  effusion  was  there  of  that  Spirit  at  that  time,  Numb.  xi.  25.  But  after  the  death  of  Moses,  for  some 
ages,  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  appeared  and  acted  in  the  church  of  Israel  more  as  a  martial  Spirit,  than  as 
a  Spirit  of  prophecy,  and  inspired  men  more  for  acting  than  speaking;  I  mean,  in  the  time  of  the  Judges. 
We  find  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  coming  upon  Othniel,  Gideon,  Samson,  and  others,  for  the  service  of 
their  country,  with  their  swords,  not  with  their  pens;  messages  were  then  sent  from  heaven  by  angels, 
as  to  Gideon  and  Manoah,  and  to  the  people,  Judges  ii.  1.  In  all  the  book  of  Judges  there  is  never  once 
mention  of  a  prophet,  only  Deborah  is  called  a  prophetess;  then  the  word  of  the  Lord  was  precious, 
there  was  no  open  vision,  1  Sam.  iii.  1.  They  had  the  law  of  Moses,  recently  written;  let  them  study 
that.  But  in  Samuel  prophecy  revived,  and  in  him  a  famous  epocha,  or  period,  of  the  church  began; 
a  time  of  great  light  in  a  constant  uninterrupted  succession  of  prophets,  till  some  time  after  the  captivity, 
when  the  canon  of  the  Old  Testament  was  completed  in  Malachi;  and  then  prophecy  ceased  for  near 
400  years,  till  the  coming  of  the  great  Prophet  and  his  forerunner.  Some  prophets  were  divinely  in¬ 
spired  to  write  the  histories  of  the  church;  but  they  did  not  put  their  names  to  their  writings,  thev  only 
referred  themselves  for  proof  to  the  authentic  records  of  those  times,  which  were  known  to  be  drawn 
up  by  prophets,  as  Gad,  Iddo,  &c.  David  and  others  were  prophets,  to  write  sacred  songs  for  the  use 
of  the  church.  After  them,  we  often  read  of  prophets,  sent  on  particular  errands,  and  raised  up  for 
special  public  services;  among  whom  the  most  famous  were  Elijah  and  Elisha  in  the  kingdom  of  Israel 
but  none  of  these  put  their  prophecies  in  writing,  nor  have  we  any  remains  of  them  but  some  fragments 
in  the  histories  of  their  times;  there  was  nothing  of  their  own  writing,  (that  I  remember,)  but  one  epis¬ 
tle  of  Elijah’s,  2  Chron.  xxi.  12.  But  toward  the  latter  end  of  the  kingdoms  of  Judah  and  Israel,  it 
pleased  God  to  direct  his  servants  the  prophets,  to  write  and  publish  some  of  their  sermons,  or  abstracts 
of  them.  The  dates  of  many  of  their  prophecies  are  uncertain,  but  the  earliest  of  them  was  in  the  days 
of  Uzziah  king  of  Judah,  and  Jeroboam  the  second,  his  contemporary,  king  of  Israel,  about  200  years 
before  the  captivity,  and  not  long  after  Joash  had  slain  Zechariah  the  son  of  Jehoiada,  in  the  courts  of 
the  temple.  If  they  begin  to  murder  the  prophets,  yet  they  shall  not  murder  their  prophecies;  they 
shall  remain  as  witnesses  against  them.  Hosea  was  the  first  of  the  writing  prophets;  and  Joel,  Amos, 
and  Obadiah  published  their  prophecies  about  the  same  time.  Isaiah  began  some  time  after,  and  not 
long;  but  his  prophecy  is  placed  first,  because  it  is  the  largest  of  them  all,  and  has  most  in  it  of  Him  to 
whom  all  the  prophets  bare  witness;  and  indeed,  so  much  of  Christ,  that  he  is  justly  styled  the  F.van- 


14 


ISAIAH,  1. 


gelical  Prophet,  and  by  some  of  the  ancients,  a  fifth  Evangelist.  We  shall  have  the  general  title  of 
this  book,  v.  1.  and  therefore  shall  here  only  observe  some  things, 

I.  Concerning  the  prophet  himself;  he  was  (if  we  may  believe  the  tradition  of  the  Jews)  of  the  roj  J 
family,  his  father  being  (they  say)  brother  to  king  Uzziah:  however,  he  was  much  at  court,  especially 
in  Hezekiah’s  time,  as  we  find  in  his  story;  to  which  many  think  it  is  owing  that  his  style  is  more  cu¬ 
rious  and  polite  than  that  of  some  other  of  the  prophets,  and,  in  some  places,  exceedingly  lofty  and 
soaring.  The  Spirit  of  God  sometimes  served  his  own  purpose  by  the  particular  genius  of  the  prophet; 
for  prophets  were  not  speaking  trumpets  through  which  the  Spirit  spake,  but  speaking  otto,  by  whom 
the  Spirit  spake,  making  use  of  their  natural  powers,  in  respect  both  of  light  and  flame,  and  advancing 
them  above  themselves. 

II.  Concerning  the  prophecy;  it  is  transcendently  excellent  and  useful;  it  was  so  to  the  church  of  God 
then,  serving  for  conviction  of  sin,  direction  in  duty,  and  consolation  in  trouble.  Two  great  distresses 
of  the  church  are  here  referred  to,  and  comfort  prescribed  in  reference  to  them;  That  by  Sennacherib’s 
invasion,  which  happened  in  his  own  time,  and  that  of  the  captivity  in  Babylon,  which  happened  lone 
after;  in  the  supports  and  encouragements  laid  up  for  each  of  these  times  of  need  we  find  abundance  of 
the  grace  of  the  gospel.  There  are  not  so  many  quotations  in  the  gospels  out  of  any,  perhaps  not  out 
of  all,  the  prophecies  of  the  Old  Testament,  as  out  of  this;  nor  such  express  testimonies  concerning 
Christ;  witness  that  of  his  being  bom  of  a  virgin,  (ch.  7. )  and  that  of  his  sufferings,  ch.  53.  The  begin¬ 
ning  of  this  book  abounds  most  with  reproofs  for  sin,  and  threatenings  of  judgment;  the  latter  end  of  it 
is  full  of  good  words  and  comfortable  words;  this  method  the  Spirit  of  Christ  took  formerly  in  the  pro¬ 
phets,  and  does  still;  first  to  convince,  and  then  to  comfort;  and  those  who  would  be  blessed  with  the 
comforts,  must  submit  to  the  convictions.  Doubtless,  Isaiah  preached  many  sermons,  and  delivered 
many  messages,  to  the  people,  which  are  not  written  in  this  book,  as  Christ  did;  and,  probably,  these 
sermons  were  delivered  more  largely  and  fully  than  they  are  here  related:  but  so  much  is  left  on  record 
as  Infinite  Wisdom  thought  fit  to  convey  to  us  on  whom  the  ends  of  the  world  are  come;  and  these  pro¬ 
phecies,  as  well  as  the  histories  of  Christ,  are  written,  that  we  might  believe  on  the  name  of  the  Son  oj 
God ,  and  that,  believing,  we  might  have  life  through  his  name;  fir  to  us  is  the  gospel  here  preached,  as 
well  as  unto  them  who  lived  then,  and  more  clearly.  O  that  it  may  be  mixed  with  faith! 


ISAIAH. 


CHAP.  I. 

The  first  verse  of  this  chapter  is  intended  for  a  title  to  the 
whole  book,  and  it  is  probable  that  this  was  the  first  ser¬ 
mon  that  this  prophet  was  appointed  to  publish,  and  to  af¬ 
fix  in  writing  (as  Calvin  thinks  the  custom  of  the  prophets 
was]  to  the  door  of  the  temple,  as  with  us  proclamations 
are  nxed  to  public  places,  that  all  might  read  them;  ( Hab. 
ii.  2.)  and  those  who  would,  might  take  out  authentic 
copies  of  them;  the  original  being,  after  some  time,  laid 
up  by  the  priests  among  the  records  of  the  temple.  The 
sermon  which  is  contained  in  this  chapter  has  in  it,  I.  A  ; 
high  charge  exhibited,  in  God’s  name,  against  the  Jewish  j 
church  and  nation  :  l.  For  their  ingratitude,  v.  2,  3.  2.  | 

For  their  incorrigibleness,  v.  5.  3.  For  the  universal 

corruption  and  degeneracy  of  the  people,  v.  4, 6,  21,  22. 
4.  For  the  perversion  of  justice  by  their  rulers,  v.  23.  II. 
A  sad  complaint  of  the  judgments  of  God,  which  they 
had  brought  upon  themselves  by  their  sins,  and  by  which 
they  were  brought  almost  to  utter  ruin,  v.  7.  .9.  III.  A 
just  rejection  of  those  shows  and  shadows  of  religion, 
which  they  kept  up  among  them,  notwithstanding  this 
general  defection  and  apostasy,  v.  10 . .  15.  IV.  An 
earnest  call  to  repentance  and  reformation,  setting  be¬ 
fore  them  life  and  death;  life  if  they  complied  with  the 
call,  and  death,  if  they  did  not,  v.  16.  .  20.  V.  A  threat¬ 
ening  of  ruin  to  those  who  would  not  be  reformed,  v.  24, 
28.  .  31.  VI.  A  promise  of  a  happy  reformation  at  last, 
and  a  return  to  their  primitive  purity  and  prosperity,  v. 
25  . .  27.  And  all  this  is  to  be  applied  by  us,  not  only  to 
the  communities  we  are  members  of,  in  their  public  in¬ 
terests,  but  to  the  state  of  our  own  souls. 

1 .  fTVHE  vision  of  Isaiah  the  son  of  Amoz, 
I  which  he  saw  concerning  Judah  and 
Jerusalem,  in  the  days  of  Uzziah,  Jotham, 
Ahaz,  and  Hezekiah,  kings  of  Judah. 

Here  is,  1.  The  name  of  the  prophet,  Isaiah;  or 
Jesahiahu,  for  so  it  is  in  the  Hebrew;  which,  in  the 
New  Testament,  is  read  Esaias.  His  name  signi¬ 
fies,  the  salvation  of  the  Lord.  A  proper  name  for 
a  prophet  by  whom  God  gives  knowledge  of  salva¬ 
tion  to  his  people,  especially  for  this  prophet,  who 
prophesies  so  much  of  Jesus  the  Saviour,  and  the 
great  salvation  wrought  out  by  him.  He  is  said  to 
be  the  son  of  Amoz;  not  Amos  the  prophet,  the  two 
names  in  the  Hebrew  differ  more  than  in  the  Eng¬ 
lish;  but,  as  the  Jews  think,  of  Amoz  the  brother, 
or  son,  of  Amaziah  king  of  Judah;  a  tradition  as  un¬ 


certain  as  that  rule  which  they  give,  That  where  a 
prophet’s  father  is  named,  he  also  was  himself  a 
prophet.  The  prophets,  pupils  and  successors,  are 
indeed  often  called  their  sons,  but  we  have  few  in¬ 
stances,  if  any,  of  their  own  sons  being  their  succes¬ 
sors. 

2.  The  nature  of  the  prophecy;  it  is  a  vision,  be¬ 

ing  revealed  to  him  in  a  vision,  when  he  was  awake, 
and  heard  the  words  of  God,  and  saw  the  visions  of 
the  Almighty,  as  Balaam  speaks,  (Numb.  xxiv.  4. ) 
though  perhaps  it  was  not  so  illustrious  a  vision  at 
first,  as  that  afterwards,  ch.  vi.  1.  The  prophets 
were  called  seers,  or  seeing-men,  and  therefore  theii 
prophecies  are  fitly  called  visions.  It  was  what  he 
saw  with  the  eyes  of  his  mind,  and  foresaw  as  clear¬ 
ly  by  divine  revelation,  was  as  well  assured  of  it,  as 
fully  apprised  of  it,  and  as  much  affected  with  it,  as 
if  he  had  seen  it  with  his  bodily  eyes.  Note,  (1.) 
God’s  prophets  saw  what  they  spake  of,  knew  what 
they  said,  and  require  our  belief  of  nothing  but  what 
they  themselves  believed  and  were  sure  of,  John  vi. 
69. — 1  John  i.  1.  (2.)  They  could  not  but  speak 

what  they  saw;  because  they  saw  how  much  all 
about  them  were  concerned  jn  it,  Acts  iv.  20. — 2 
Cor.  iv.  13. 

3.  The  subject  of  the  prophecy;  it  was  what  he 
saw  concerning  Judah  and  Jerusalem,  the  country 
of  the  two  tribes,  and  that  city  which  was  their  me¬ 
tropolis;  and  there  is  little  in  it  relating  to  Ephraim, 
or  the  ten  tribes,  of  whom  there  is  so  much  in  the 
prophecy  of  Hosea.  Some  chapters  there  are  in 
this  book,  which  relate  to  Babylon,  Egypt,  Tvre, 
and  some  other  neighbouring  nations;  but  it  takes 
its  title  from  that  which  is  the  main  substance  of  it, 
and  it  is  therefore  said  to  be  concerning  Judah  and 
Jerusalem;  the  other  nations  spoken  of  are  such  as 
the  people  of  the  Jews  had  concerns  with.  Isaiah 
brings  to  them  in  aspecial  manner,  (1.)  Instruction, 
for  it  is  the  privilege  of  Judah  and  Jerusalem,  that  to 
them  pertain  the  oracles  of  God.  (2.)  Reproof  and 
threatening;  for  if  in  Judah,  where  God  is  known, 
if  in  Salem,  where  his  name  is  great,  iniquity  be 
found,  they,  sooner  than  any  other,  shall  be  reckon¬ 
ed  with  for  it.  (3.)  Comfort  and  encouragement  in 
evil  times;  for  the  children  of  Zion  shall  be  joyr  il 
in  their  king. 


ISAIAH,  I.  lb 


4.  The  date  of  the  prophecy;  he  prophesied  in 
the  days  of  Uzziah ,  Jotham,  Ahaz,  and  Hezekiah. 
jiy  this  it  appears,  (1. )  That  he  prophesied  long; 
especially  if  (as  the  Jews  say)  he  was  at  last  put  to 
death  by  Manasseh,  to  a  cruel  death,  being  sawn 
asunder;  to  which  some  suppose  the  apostle  refers, 
Heb.  xi.  37.  From  the  year  that  king  Uzziah  died, 
[eh.  vi.  1.)  to  Hezekiah’s  sickness  and  recovery, 
was  47  years;  how  much  before,  and  after,  he  pro¬ 
phesied,  is  not  certain;  some  reckon  60,  and  others 
80  years  in  all.  It  was  an  honour  to  him,  and  a 
happiness  to  his  country,  that  he  was  continued  so 
long  in, his  usefulness:  and  we  must  suppose  both 
that  he  began  young,  and  that  he  held  out  to  old 
age;  for  the  prophets  were  not  tied,  as  the  priests 
were,  to  a  certain  age,  for  the  beginning  or  ending 
of  their  ministration.  (2.)  That  he  passed  through 
a  variety  of  times.  Jotham  was  a  good  king,  and 
Hezekiah  a  better,  who,  no  doubt,  gave  encourage¬ 
ment  to,  and  took  advice  from,  this  prophet,  were 
atrons  to  him,  and  he  privy-counsellor  to  them; 
ut  between  them,  and  when  Isaiah  was  in  the 
prime  of  his  time,  the  reign  of  Ahaz  was  very  pro¬ 
fane  and  wicked;  then,  no  doubt,  he  was  frowned 
upon  at  court,  and,  it  is  likely,  forced  to  abscond; 
good  men  and  good  ministers  must  expect  bad 
times  in  this  world,  and  prepare  for  them.  Then 
religion  was  run  down  to  that  degree,  that  the  doors 
of  the  house  of  the  Lord  were  shut  up,  and  idola¬ 
trous  altars  were  erected  in  every  corner  of  Jerusa¬ 
lem;  and  Isaiah,  with  all  his  divine  eloquence  and 
messages  immediately  from  God  himself,  could  not 
help  it  The  best  men,  the  best  ministers,  cannot 
do  the  good  they  would  do  in  the  world. 

2.  Hear,  O  heavens,  and  give  ear,  O 
earth ;  for  the  Lord  hath  spoken :  1  have 
nourished  and  brought  up  children,  and  they 
have  rebelled  against  me :  3.  The  ox  know- 
eth  his  owner,  and  the  ass  his  master’s  crib: 
but  Israel  doth  not  know,  my  people  doth 
not  consider.  4.  Ah,  sinful  nation,  a  people 
laden  with  iniquity,  a  seed  of  evil-doers, 
children  that  are  corrupters!  they  have  for¬ 
saken  the  Lord,  they  have  provoked  the 
Holy  One  of  Israel  unto  anger,  they  are 
gone  away  backward.  5.  Why  should  ye 
be  stricken  any  more?  ye  will  revolt  more 
and  more.  The  whole  head  is  sick,  and 
the  whole  heart  faint  6.  From  the  sole  of 
the  foot  even  unto  the  head  there  is  no 
soundness  in  it;  but  wounds,  and  bruises, 
and  putrefying  sores :  they  have  not  been 
closed,  neither  bound  up,  neither  mollified 
with  ointment  7.  Your  country  is  desolate, 
your  cities  are  burnt  with  fire :  your  land, 
strangers  devour  it  in  your  presence,  and  it 
is  desolate,  as  overthrown  by  strangers.  8. 
And  the  daughter  of  Zion  is  left  as  a  cot¬ 
tage  in  a  vineyard,  as  a  lodge  in  a  garden 
of  cucumbers,  as  a  besieged  city.  9.  Ex¬ 
cept  the  Lord  of  hosts  had  left  unto  us  a 
very  small  remnant,  we  should  have  been 
as  Sodom,  and  we  should  have  been  like 
unto  Gomorrah. 

We  will  hope  to  meet  with  a  bl  ighter  and  more 

leasant  scene  before  we  come  to  the  end  of  this 

ook ;  but  truly  here,  in  the  beginning  of  it,  every 


thing  looks  very  bad,  very  black,  with  Judah  and 
Jerusalem.  What  is  the  wilderness  of  the  world, 
if  the  church,  the  vineyard,  have  such  a  dismal  as¬ 
pect  as  this? 

I.  The  prophet,  though  he  speaks  in  God’s  name, 
yet,  despairing  to  gain  audience  with  the  children 
of  his  people,  addresses  himself  to  the  heavens  and 
the  earth,  and  bespeaks  their  attention;  [v.  i.  ) 
Hear,  O  heavens,  and  give  ear,  0  earth!  Sooner 
will  the  inanimate  creatures  hear,  who  observe  the 
law,  and  answer  the  end  of  their  creation,  than  this 
stupid  senseless  people.  Let  the  lights  of  heaven 
shame  their  darkness,  and  the  fruitfulness  of  the 
earth  their  barrenness,  and  the  strictness  of  each  t< 
its  time,  their  irregularity.  Moses  begins  thus 
(Deut.  xxxii.  1.)  to  which  the  prophet  here  refers 
intimating,  that  now  those  times  were  come,  which 
Moses  there  foretold,  Deut.  xxxi.  29.  Or  this  is 
an  appeal  to  heaven  and  earth,  to  angels,  and  then 
to  the  inhabitants  of  the  upper  and  lower  world;  let 
them  judge  between  God  and  his  vineyard:  can 
either  produce  such  an  instance  of  ingratitude?  Note, 
God  will  be  justified  when  he  speaks,  and  both  hea¬ 
ven  and  earth  shall  declare  his  righteousness,  Mic. 
vi.  2.  Ps.  1.  6. 

II.  He  charges  them  with  base  ingratitude,  a 
crime  of  the  highest  nature:  call  a  man  ungrateful, 
and  you  can  call  him  no  worse:  let  heaven  and 
earth  hear,  and  wonder  at,  1.  God’s  gracious  deal¬ 
ings  with  a  peevish  provoking  people  as  they  were; 
“  I  have  nourished  and  brought  them  up  as  chil¬ 
dren;  they  have  been  well  fed  and  well  taught;” 
(Deut.  xxxii.  6.)  “I  have  magnified  and  exalted 
them:”  (so  some;)  “not  only  made  them  grow,  but 
made  them  great;  not  only  maintained  them,  but 
preferred  them;  not  only  trained  them  up,  but  rais¬ 
ed  them  high.”  Note,  We  owe  the  continuance  of 
our  lives,  and  comforts,  and  all  our  advancements, 
to  God’s  fatherly  care  of  us  and  kindness  to  us. 
2.  Their  ill-natured  conduct  toward  him,  who  was 
so  tender  of  chem;  “  They  have  rebelled  against 
me;”  or  (as  some  read  it)  “  they  have  revolted  from 
me;  they  have  been  deserters,  nay,  traitors,  against 
my  crown  and  dignity.”  Note,  all  the  instances  of 
God’s  favour  to  us,  as  the  God  both  of  our  nature 
and  of  our  nurture,  aggravate  our  treacherous  de¬ 
partures  from  him,  and  all  our  presumptuous  oppo¬ 
sitions  to  him :  children,  and  yet  rebels! 

III.  He  attributes  this  to  their  ignorance  and  in¬ 
consideration:  (tt  3.)  The  ox  knows,  but  Israel  does 
not.  Observe,  1.  The  sagacity  of  the  ox  and  the 
ass,  which  are  not  only  brute  creatures,  but  of  the 
dullest  sort:  yet  the  ox  has  such  a  sense  of  duty,  as 
to  know  his  owner,  and  to  serve  him,  to  submit  to 
his  yoke,  and  to  draw  in  it;  the  ass  has  such  a  sense 
of  interest,  as  to  know  his  master’s  crib  or  manger, 
where  he  is  fed,  and  to  abide  by  it;  he  will  go  to 
that  of  himself,  if  he  is  turned  loose.  A  fine  pass 
man  is  come  to,  when  he  is  shamed  even  in  know¬ 
ledge  and  understanding  by  these  silly  animals;  and 
is  not  only  sent  to  school  to  them,  (Prov.  vi.  6,  7.) 
but  set  in  a  form  below  them,  (Jer.  viii.  7.)  taught 
more  than  the  beasts  of  the  earth,  (Job  xxxv.  11.) 
and  yet  knowing  less.  2.  The  sottishness  and  stu¬ 
pidity  of  Israel.  God  is  their  Owner  and  Proprie¬ 
tor;  he  made  us,  and  his  we  are,  more  than  our  cat¬ 
tle  are  ours;  he  has  provided  well  for  us;  providence 
is  our  M  ister’s  crib:  yet  many  that  are  called  the 
people  of  God,  do  not  know,  and  will  not  consider 
this;  but  ask,  “  What  is  the  Almighty,  that  we 
should  serve  him?  He  is  not  our  owner;  and  what 
profit  shall  we  have  if  we  pray  unto  him?  He  has 
no  crib  for  us  to  feed  at.”  He  had  complained  (v. 
2. )  of  the  obstinacy  of  their  wills;  They  have  rebelled 
against  me;  here  he  runs  it  up  to  its  cause;  “ There 
fore  they  have  rebelled,  because  they  do  not  know, 
they  do  not  consider.”  The  understanding  is  dark 


16 


ISAIAH,  I. 


ened,  and  therefore  the  whole  soul  is  alienated  from 
the  life  of  God,  Eph.  iv.  18.  Israel  does  not  know, 
though  their  land  was  a  land  of  light  and  know¬ 
ledge;  in  Judah  is  God  known,  yet,  because  they 
do  not  live  up  to  what  they  know,  it  is,  in  effect,  as 
if  they  did  not  know.  They  know;  but  their  know¬ 
ledge  does  them  no  good,  because  they  do  not  con¬ 
sider  what  they  know;  they  do  not  apply  it  to 
their  case,  nor  their  minds  to  it.  Note,  (1.)  Even 
among  those  that  profess  themselves  G<xl’s  people, 
that  have  the  advantages,  and  lie  under  the  engage¬ 
ments,  of  his  people,  there  are  many  that  are  very 
careless  in  the  affairs  of  their  souls.  (2.)  Inconsi¬ 
deration  of  what  we  do  know,  is  as  great  an  enemy 
to  us  in  religion  as  ignorance  of  what  we  should 
know.  (3.)  Therefore  men  revolt  from  God,  and 
rebel  against  him,  because  they  do  not  know  and 
consider  their  obligations  to  God,  in  duty,  gratitude, 
and  interest. 

IV.  He  laments  the  universal  pravity  and  cor¬ 
ruption  of  their  church  and  kingdom ;  the  disease 
of  sin  was  epidemical,  and  all  orders  and  degrees 
of  men  were  infected  with  it;  Ah,  sinful  nation!  v.  4. 
The  prophet  bemoans  those  that  would  not  bemoan 
themselves;  Alas  for  them,  wo  to  them !  He  speaks 
with  a  holy  indignation  at  their  degeneracy,  and  a 
dread  of  the  consequences  of  it.  See  here, 

1.  How  he  aggravates  their  sin,  and  shows  the 

malignity  that  there  was  in  it,  v.  4.  ( 1. )  The  wick¬ 

edness  was  universal;  they  were  a  sinful  nation,  the 
generality  of  the  people  were  vicious  and  profane; 
they  were  so  in  their  national  capacity,  in  the  ma¬ 
nagement  of  their  public  treaties  abroad,  and  in  the 
administration  of  public  justice  at  home,  they  Were 
corrupt.  Note,  It  is  ill  with  a  people  when  sin  be¬ 
comes  national.  (2.)  It  was  very  great  and  heinous 
in  its  nature.  They  were  laden  with  iniquity;  the 
guilt  of  it,  and  the  curse  incurred  by  that  guilt,  lay 
very  heavy  upon  them;  it  was  a  heavy  charge  that 
was  exhibited  against  them,  which  they  could  never 
clear  themselves  from;  their  wickedness  was  upon 
them  as  a  talent  of  lead,  Zech.  v.  7,  8.  And  their 
sin,  as  it  did  easily  beset  them,  and  they  were  prone 
to  it,  was  a  weight  upon  them,  Heb.  xii.  1.  (3.) 

They  came  of  a  bad  stock,  they  were  a  seed  of  evil¬ 
doers;  treachery  ran  in  the  blood,  they  had  it  by 
kind,  which  made  the  matter  so  much  the  worse, 
more  provoking  and  less  curable;  they  rose  up  in 
their  fathers’  stead,  and  trod  in  their  fathers’  steps, 
to  fill  ufi  the  measure  of  their  iniquity;  (Numb, 
xxxii.  14. )  they  were  a  race  and  family  of  rebels. 
(4.)  They  were  themselves  debauched,  did  what 
they  could  to  debauch  others;  they  are  not  only  cor¬ 
rupt  children,  bom  tainted,  but  children  that  are 
corrupters,  that  propagate  vice,  and  infect  others 
with  it;  not  only  sinners,  but  tempters,  not  only  ac¬ 
tuated  by  Satan,  but  agents  for  him.  If  those  that 
are  called  children,  God’s  children,  that  are  looked 
upon  as  belonging  to  his  family,  be  wicked  and  vile, 
their  example  is  of  the  most  malignant  influence. 

5.)  Their  sin  was  a  treacherous  departure  from 
Jod,  they  were  deserters  from  their  allegiance; 
They  have  forsaken  the  Lord,  to  whom  they  had 
joined  themselves;  they  are  gone  away  backward; 
are  alienated  or  separated  from  God,  have  turned 
the  back  upon  him,  deserted  their  colours,  and  quit¬ 
ted  their  service;  when  they  were  urged  forward, 
they  ran  backward,  as  a  bullock  unaccustomed  to 
the  yoke,  Hos.  iv.  16.  (6. )  It  was  an  impudent  and 
daring  defiance  of  him;  They  have  provoked  the 
Holy  One  of  Israel  tinto  anger,  wilfully  and  design¬ 
edly;  they  knew  what  would  anger  him,  and  that 
they  did.  Note,  The  backslidingsof  those  that  have 
professed  religion,  and  relation  to  God,  are  in  a  spe 
cial  manner  provoking  to  him. 

2.  How  he  illustrates  it  by  a  comparison  taken 
from  a  sick  and  diseased  body,  all  overspread  with 


leprosy,  or,  like  Job’s,  with  sore  boils,  v.  5,  6.  (1.) 
The  distemper  has  seized  the  vitals,  and  so  threat¬ 
ens  to  be  mortal.  Diseases  in  the  head  and  heart 
are  most  dangerous;  now  the  head,  the  whole  head, 
is  sick,  the  heart,  the  whole  heart,  is  faint;  they 
were  become  corrupt  in  their  judgment,  the  leprosy 
was  in  their  head,  they  were  utterly  unclean;  their 
affection  to  God  and  religion  was  cold  and  gone;  the 
things  which  remained  were  ready  to  die  away, 
Rev.  iii.  2.  (2.)  It  has  overspread  the  whole  body, 

and  so  becomes  exceedingly  noisome;  From  the  salt 
of  the  foot  even  unto  the  head,  from  the  meanest 
peasant  to  the  greatest  peer,  there  is  no  soundness, 
no  good  principles,  no  religion,  (for  that  is  the 
health  of  the  soul,)  nothing  but  wounds  and  bruises, 
guilt  and  corruption,  the  sad  effects  of  Adam’s  fall; 
noisome  to  the  holy  God,  painful  to  the  sensible 
soul;  they  were  so  to  David,  when  he  complained, 
(Ps.  xxxviii.  5.)  My  wounds  stink,  and  are  corrupt, 
because  of  my  foolishness,  Ps.  xxxii.  3,  4.  No  at¬ 
tempts  were  made  for  reformation,  or,  if  they  were, 
they  proved  ineffectual;  The  wounds  have  not  been 
closed,  nor  bound  up,  nor  mollified  with  ointment. 
While  sin  remains  unrepented  of,  the  wounds  are 
unsearched,  unwashed,  the  proud  flesh  in  them  not 
cut  out,  and  while  consequently,  it  remains  unpar¬ 
doned,  the  wounds  are  not  mollified  or  closed  up, 
nor  any  thing  done  toward  the  healing  of  them,  and 
the  preventing  of  their  fatal  consequences. 

V.  He  sadly  bewails  the  judgments  of  God,  which 
they  had  brought  upon  themselves  by  their  sins,  and 
their  incorrigibleness  under  those  judgments. 

1.  Their  kingdom  was  almost  ruined,  v.  7.  So 
miserable  were  they,  that  both  their  towns  and  their 
lands  were  wasted,  and  yet  so  stupid,  that  they 
needed  to  be  told  this,  and  to  have  it  showed  them; 
“Look,  and  see  how  it  is;  your  country  is  desolate, 
the  ground  is  not  cultivated,  for  want  of  inhabitants, 
the  villages  being  deserted,  Judg.  v.  7.  And  thus 
the  fields  and  vineyards  become  like  deserts,  ail 
grown  over  with  thorns ;  (Prov.  xxiv.  31.)  your  ci¬ 
ties  are  burned  with  fire,  by  the  enemies  that  invade 
you;”  (fire  and  sword  commonly  go  together;)  “  as 
for  the  fruits  of  your  land,  which  should  be  food 
for  your  families,  strangers  devour  them;  and,  to 
your  greater  vexation,  it  is  before  your  eyes,  and 
you  cannot  prevent  it;  you  starve,  while  your  ene¬ 
mies  surfeit  on  that  which  should  be  your  mainte¬ 
nance.  The  overthrow  of  your  country  is  as  the 
overthrow  of  strangers;  it  is  used  by  the  invaders 
as  one  might  expect  it  should  be  used  by  stran¬ 
gers.” — Jerusalem  itself,  which  was  as  the  daugh¬ 
ter  of  Zion;  (the  temple  built  on  Zion  was  a  mother, 
a  nursing  mother,  to  Jerusalem ;)  or  Zion  itself,  the 
holy  mountain,  which  had  been  dear  to  God  as  a 
daughter,  was  now  lost,  deserted,  and  exposed,  as  a 
cottage  in  a  vineyard,  which,  when  the  vintage  is 
over,  nobody  dwells  in,  or  takes  any  care  of,  and 
looks  as  mean  and  despicable  as  a  lodge,  or  hut, 
in  a  garden  of  cucumbers;  and  every  person  is  afraid 
of  coming  near  it,  and  solicitous  to  remove  his  ef¬ 
fects  out  of  it,  as  if  it  were  a  besieged  city,  v.  8. 
And  some  think  it  is  the  calamitous  state  of  the 
kingdom,  that  is  represented  by  a  diseased  body,  v 
6.  Probably,  this  sermon  was  preached  in  the  reign 
of  Ahaz,  when  Judah  was  invaded  by  the  kings  of 
Syria  and  Israel,  the  Edomites,  and  the  Philistines, 
who  slew  many,  and  carried  many  away  into  cap¬ 
tivity,  2  Chron.  xxviii.  5,  17,  18.  Note,  National 
impiety  and  immorality  bring  national  desolation. 
Canaan,  the  glory  of  all  lands,  mount  Zion,  the 
joy  of  the  whole  earth,  both  became  a  reproach 
and  a  ruin;  and  sin  made  them  so,  that  great  mia- 
chief-maker. 

2.  Yet  they  were  not  at  all  reformed,  and  there¬ 
fore  God  threatens  to  take  another  course  with 
them;  (v.  5.)  “  Why  should  ye  be  stricken  any 


ISAIAH,  J. 


mure,  with  any  expectation  of  doing  you  good  by  it,  j 
when  you  increase  revolts  as  your  rebukes  are  in¬ 
creased?  You  will  revolt  more  and  more,  as  you 
have  done;”  as  Ahaz  particularly  did,  who,  in  his 
distress,  trespassed  yet  more  against  the  Lord,  2 
Chron.  x’xviii.  22.  Thus  the  physician,  when  he 
sees  the  patient’s  case  desperate,  troubles  him  no 
more  with  physic;  and  the  father  resolves  to  cor¬ 
rect  his  child  no  more,  when,  finding  him  hardened, 
ne  determines  to  disinherit  him.  Note,  (1.)  There 
are  those  who  are  made  worse  by  the  methods  God 
takes  to  make  them  better;  the  more  they  are 
stricken,  the  more  they  revolt;  their  corruptions, 
instead  of  being  mortified,  are  irritated  and  exas- 
erated,  by  their  afflictions,  and  their  hearts  more 
ardened.  (2. )  God  sometimes,  in  a  way  of  righ¬ 
teous  judgment,  ceases  to  correct  those  who  have 
been  long  incorrigible,  and  whom  therefore  he  de¬ 
signs  to  destroy.  The  reprobate  silver  shall  be  cast, 
not  into  the  furnace,  but  to  the  dunghill,  Jer.  vi.  29, 
30.  See  Ezek.  xxiv.  13.  Hos.  iv.  14.  He  that  is 
filthy,  let  him  be  filthy  still. 

VI.  He  comforts  himself  with  the  consideration 
of  a  remnant  that  should  be  the  monuments  of  di¬ 
vine  grace  and  mercy,  notwithstanding  this  general 
corruption  and  desolation,  v.  9.  See  here,  1.  How 
near  they  were  to  an  utter  extirpation;  they  were 
almost  like  Sodom  and  Gomorrah,  in  respect  both 
of  sin  and  ruin,  grown  almost  so  bad,  that  there 
could  not  have  been  found  ten  righteous  men  among 
them,  and  almost  so  miserable,  that  none  had  been 
left  alive,  but  their  country  turned  into  a  sulphu¬ 
reous  lake.  Divine  Justice  said,  Make  them  as  Ad- 
mah,  set  them  as  Zeboim;  but  Mercy  said,  How  shall 
I  do  it?  Hos.  xi.  8,  9.  2.  What  it  was  that  saved 

them  from  it;  The  Lord  of  hosts  left  unto  them  a 
very  small  remnant ,  that  were  kept  pure  from  the 
i  ommon  apostacy,  and  kept  safe  and  alive  from  the 
common  calamity.  This  is  quoted  by  the  apostle, 
(Rom.  ix.  27.)  and  applied  to  those  few  of  the  Jew¬ 
ish  nation,  who,  in  his  time,  embraced  Christianity, 
when  the  body  of  the  people  rejected  it,  and  in 
whom  the  promises  made  to  the  fathers  were  ac¬ 
complished.  Note,  (1.)  In  the  worst  of  times  there 
is  a  remnant  preserved  from  iniquity,  and  reserved 
for  mercy,  as  Noah  and  his  family  in  the  deluge, 
Lot  and  his  in  the  destruction  of  Sodom.  Divine 
grace  triumphs  in  distinguishing  by  an  act  of  sove¬ 
reignty.  (2.)  This  remnant  is  often  a  very  small 
one,  in  comparison  with  the  vast  numbers  of  revolt¬ 
ing  ruined  sinners.  Multitude  is  no  mark  of  the 
true  church;  Christ’s  is  a  little  flock.  (3.)  It  is 
God’s  work  to  sanctify  and  save  some,  when  others 
are  left  to  perish  in  their  impurity;  it  is  the  work 
of  his  power,  as  the  Lord  of  hosts;  except  he  had 
left  us  that  remnant,  there  had  been  none  left;  the 
corrupters  (x>.  4.)  did  what  they  could  to  debauch 
all,  and  the  devourers  (to  7.)  to  destroy  all;  and 
they  would  have  prevailed,  if  God  himself  had  not 
interposed  to  secure  to  himself  a  remnant,  who  are 
bound  to  give  him  all  the  glory.  (4.)  It  is  good  for 
a  people  that  have  been  saved  from  utter  ruin,  to 
look  back,  and  see  how  near  they  were  to  it,  just 
upon  the  brink  of  it,  to  see  how  much  they  owed  to 
a  few  good  men  that  stood  in  the  gap,  and  that  that 
was  owing  to  a  good  God,  who  left  them  these  good 
men.  It  is  of  the  Lord’s  mercies  that  we  are  not 
consumed. 

1 0.  Hear  the  word  of  the  Lord,  ye  rulers 
of  Sodom;  give  ear  unto  the  law  of  our 
God,  ye  people  of  Gomorrah ;  11.  To  what 
purpose  is  the  multitude  of  your  sacrifices 
unto  me?  saith  the  Lord  :  I  am  full  of  the 
burnt-offerings  of  rams,  and  the  fat  of  fed 
beasts ;  and  I  delight  not  in  the  blood  of 
Vol.  iv  — C 


bullocks,  or  of  lambs,  or  of  ne- goals.  12. 
When  ye  come  to  appear  before  me,  who 
hath  required  this  at  your  hand  to  tread  my 
courts?  13.  Bring  no  more  vain  oblations: 
incense  is  an  abomination  unto  me :  the 
new-moons  and  sabbaths,  the  calling  of  as¬ 
semblies,  I  cannot  away  with :  it  is  iniquity, 
even  the  solemn  meeting.  1 4.  \  our  new- 
moons  and  your  appointed  feasts  my  soul 
hateth :  they  are  a  trouble  unto  me ;  I  am 
weary  to  bear  them.  15.  And  when  ye  spread 
forth  your  hands  I  will  hide  mine  eyes  from 
you ;  yea,  when  ye  make  many  prayers  I  will 
not  hear :  your  hands  are  full  of  blood. 

Here, 

I.  God  calls  to  them,  (but  calls  in  vain,)  to  hear 

his  word,  v.  10.  1.  The  title  he  gives  them  is  very 

strange,  Ye  rulers  of  Sodom,  and  Ye  people  of  Go- 
morrah.  This  intimates  what  a  righteous  thing  it 
had  been  with  God  to  make  them  like  Sodom  and 
Gomorrah,  in  respect  of  ruin;  ( v .  9.)  because  they 
had  made  themselves  like  Sodom  and  Gomorrah, 
in  respect  of  sin.  The  men  of  Sodom  were  wicked, 
and  sinners  before  the  Lord  exceedingly,  (Gen.  xiii. 
13. )  and  so  were  the  men  of  Judah ;  when  the  rulers 
were  bad,  no  wonder  the  people  were  so.  V  ice 
overpowered  virtue,  for  it  had  the  rulers,  the  men 
of  figure,  on  its  side;  and  it  outpolled  it,  for  it  had 
the  people,  the  men  of  number,  on  its  side:  the 
streams  being  thus  strong,  no  less  a  power  than  that 
of  the  Lord  of  hosts  could  secure  a  remnant,  v.  9. 
The  rulers  are  boldly  attacked  here  by  the  prophet, 
as  rulers  of  Sodom,  for  he  knew  not  how  to  give  flat¬ 
tering  titles;  the  tradition  of  the  Jews  is,  that  for  this 
he  was  impeached  long  after,  and  put  to  death,  as 
having  cursed  the  gods,  and  spoken  evil  of  the  ruler 
of  his  people.  2.  "His  demand  upon  them  is  very- 
reasonable;  “ Hear  the  word  of  the  Lord,  and  give 
ear  to  the  law  of  our  God;  attend  to  that  which  God 
has  to  say  to  you,  and  let  his  word  be  a  law  to  yrcu.” 
The  following  declaration  of  dislike  to  their  sacri¬ 
fices,  would  be  a  kind  of  new  law  to  them;  though 
really  it  was  but  an  explication  of  the  old  law;  but 
special  regard  is  to  be  had  to  it,  as  is  required  to  the 
like,  Ps.  1.  7,  8.  “  Hear  this,  and  tremble;  hear  it, 

and  take  warning.” 

II.  He  justly  refuses  to  hear  their  prayers  and  ac¬ 
cept  their  services,  their  sacrifices  and  burnt-offer¬ 
ings,  the  fat  and  blood  of  them,  (x».  11.)  their  atten¬ 
dance  in  his  courts,  (y.  12.)  their  oblations,  their 
incense,  and  their  solemn  assemblies,  (v.  13.)  their 
new-moons,  and  their  appointed  feasts,  (x>.  14.)  their 
devoutest  addresses;  (v.  15.)  they  are  all  rejected, 
because  their  hands  were  full  of  blood.  N  ow  observe, 

1.  There  are  many  who  are  strangers,  nay  ene¬ 
mies,  to  the  power  of  religion,  and  yet  seem  very- 
zealous  for  the  show  and  shadow  and  form  of  it. 
This  sinful  nation,  this  seed  of  evil-doers,  these  ru¬ 
lers  of  Sodom  and  people  of  Gomorrah,  brought  not 
to  the  altars  of  false  gods,  (they  are  not  here  charged 
with  that,)  but  to  the  altar  of  the  God  of  Israel, 
sacrifices,  a  multitude  of  them,  as  many  as  the_  law 
required,  and  rather  more,  not  only  peace-offerings, 
which  they  themselves  had  their  share  of,  but  burnt- 
offerings,  which  were  wholly  consumed  to  the  ho¬ 
nour  of  God;  nor  did  they  bring  the  torn,  and  lame, 
and  sick,  but  fed  beasts,  and  the  fat  of  them,  the 
best  of  the  kind:  they  did  not  send  others  to  offer 
their  sacrifices  for  them,  but  came  themselves  tr 
appear  before  God;  they  observed  the  instituted 
places,  not  in  high-places,  or  groves,  but  in  God’s 
own  courts;  and  the  instituted  time,  the  new-moons. 

[  and  sabbaths,  and  appointed  feasts,  none  of  which. 


IK  ISAIAH,  1. 


they  omitted;  nay,  it  should  seem,  they  called  ex-  ! 
traordinary  assemblies,  and  held  solemn  meetings,  I 
f  jr  religious  worship,  beside  those  that  God  had  ap¬ 
pointed;  vet  this  was  not  all,  they  applied  them¬ 
selves  to  God  not  only  with  their  ceremonial  observ¬ 
ances,  hut  with  the  moral  instances  of  devotion;  they 
prayed,  they  prayed  often,  made  many  prayers, 
thinking  they  should  be  heard  for  their  much  speak¬ 
ing;  nay,  they  were  fervent  and  importunate  in 
prayer,  they  spread  forth  their  hands  as  men  in 
earnest.  Now  we  should  have  thought  these,  and 
no  doubt  they  thought  themselves,  a  pious,  religious 
people;  and  yet  they  were  far  from  being  so,  for, 

( 1. )  Their  hearts  were  empty  of  true  devotion ;  they 
came  to  aftfiear  before  God,  (v.  12.)  to  be  seen  be¬ 
fore  him;  so  the  margin  reads  it;  they  rested  in  the 
outside  of  the  duties,  they  looked  no  further  than  to 
be  seen  of  men,  and  went  no  further  than  that  which 
men  see.  (2. )  Their  hands  were  full  of  blood;  they 
were  guilty  of  murder,  rapine,  and  oppression,  un¬ 
der  colour  of  law  and  justice.  The  people  shed 
blood,  and  the  rulers  did  not  punish  them  for  it;  the 
rulers  shed  blood,  and  the  people  were  aiding  and 
abetting,  as  the  elders  of  Jezreel  were  to  Jezebel  in 
shedding  Naboth’s  blood.  Malice  is  heart-murder, 
in  the  account  of  God;  he  that  hates  his  brother  in 
his  heart,  has,  in  effect,  his  hands  full  of  blood. 

2.  When  sinners  are  under  the  judgments  of  God, 
they  will  more  easily  be  brought  to  fly  to  their  de¬ 
votions,  than  to  forsake  their  sins,  and  reform  their 
lives.  Their  country  was  now  desolate,  and  their 
cities  burnt;  ( v.  7.)  and  this  awakened  them  to 
bring  their  sacrifices  and  offerings  to  God  more  con¬ 
stantly  than  they  had  done,  as  if  they  would  bribe 
God  Almighty  to  remove  the  punishment,  and  give 
them  leave  to  go  on  in  the  sin.  When  he  slew  them, 
then  they  sought  him,  Ps.  lxxviii.  34.  Lord,  in 
trouble  have  they  visited  thee,  ch.  xxvi.  16.  Many 
that  will  readily  part  with  their  sacrifices,  will  not 
be  persuaded  to  part  with  their  sins. 

3.  The  most  pompous  and  costly  devotions  of 
wicked  people,  without  a  thorough  reformation  of 
the  heart  and  life,  are  so  far  from  being  acceptable 
to  God,  that  really  they  are  an  abomination  to  him. 

It  is  showed  here  in  a  great  variety  of  expressions, 
that  to  obey  is  better  than  sacrifice ;  nay,  that  sacri¬ 
fice,  without  obedience,  is  a  jest,  an  affront  and  pro¬ 
vocation  to  God.  The  comparative  neglect  which 
God  here  expresses  of  ceremonial  observances,  was 
a  tacit  intimation  of  what  they  would  come  to  at  last, 
when  they  would  all  be  done  away  by  the  death  of 
Christ;  what  was  now  made  little  of,  would,  in  due 
time,  be  made  nothing  of.  Sacrifice  and  offering, 
and  prayer  made  in  the  virtue  of  that,  thou  wouldest 
not;  then  said  I,  Lo,  I  come.  Their  sacrifices  are 
here  represented, 

(1.)  As  fruitless  and  insignificant.  To  what  pur¬ 
pose  is  it?  v.  11.  They  are  vain  oblations,  v.  13. 

In  vain  do  they  worshifi  me,  Matth.  xv.  9.  It  was 
all  lost  labour,  and  served  not  to  answer  any  good 
intention;  for,  [4.  ]  It  was  not  looked  upon  as  any  act 
of  duty  or  obedience  to  God;  Who  has  required  these 
things  at  your  hands?  v.  12.  Not  that  God  disowns 
nis  institutions,  or  refuses  to  stand  by  his  own  war¬ 
rants;  but  in  what  they  did  they  hail  not  an  eve  to 
Him  that  required  it,  nor  indeed  did  he  require  it 
of  them,  whose  hands  were  full  of  blood,  and  who 
continued  impenitent.  [2.]  It  did  not  recommend 
them  to  God’s  favour;  he  delighted  not  in  the  blood 
of  their  sacrifices,  for  he  did  not  look  upon  himself 
as  honoured  by  it.  [3.]  It  would  not  obtain  any  re¬ 
lief  for  them.  They  pray,  but  God  will  not  hear, 
because  they  regard  iniquity;  (Ps.  lxvi.  18.)  he 
would  not  deliver  them,  for  though  they  make  many 
prayers,  none  of  them  came  from  an  upright  heart. 
All  their  religious  services  turned  to  no  account  to 
them.  Nay,  || 


(2. ;  As  odious  and  offensive,  God  did  not  only  •’Ot 
accept  them,  but  he  did  detest  and  abhor  them. 
“They  are  your  sacrifices,  they  are  none  of  mine; 

I  am  full  of  them,  even  surfeited  with  them.”  He 
needed  them  not,  (Ps.  1.  10.)  did  not  desire  them, 
had  had  enough  of  them,  and  more  than  enough. 
Their  coming  into  his  courts  he  calls  treading  them, 
or  trampling  upon  them,  their  very  attendance  on 
his  ordinances  was  construed  into  a  contempt  ot 
them.  Their  incense,  though  ever  so  fragrant,  was 
an  abomination  to  him,  for  it  was  burnt  ir.  hypocrisy, 
and  with  an  ill  design.  Their  solemn  assemblies  h< 
could  not  away  with,  could  not  see  them  with  an) 
patience,  nor  bear  the  affront  they  gave  him.  Tht 
solemn  meeting  is  iniquity;  though  the  thing  itself 
was  not,  yet,  as  they  managed  it,  it  was.  It  is  a 
vexation,  (so  some  read  it,)  a  provocation,  to  God, 
to  have  ordinances  thus  prostituted,  not  only  by 
wicked  people,  but  to  wicked  purposes;  “  My  soul 
hates  them,  they  are  a  trouble  to  me,  a  burthen,  an 
incumbrance;  I  am  perfectly  sick  of  them,  and  weary 
to  bear  them.”  He  is  never  weary  of  hearing  the 
prayers  of  the  upright,  but  soon  weary  of  the  costly 
sacrifices  of  the  wicked.  He  hides  his  eyes  from 
their  prayers,  as  that  which  he  has  an  aversion  to, 
and  is  angry  at. 

All  this  is  to  show,  [1.]  That  sin  is  very  hateful 
to  God,  so  hateful  that  it  makes  even  men’s  prayers 
and  their  religious  services  hateful  to  him.  [2.] 
That  dissembled  piety  is  double  iniquity.  Hypo¬ 
crisy  in  religion  is  of  all  things  most  abominable  to 
the  God  of  heaven.  Jerom  applies  it  to  the  Jews  in 
Christ’s  time,  who  pretended  a  great  zeal  for  the 
law  and  the  temple,  but  made  themselves  and  all 
their  services  abominable  to  God,  by  filling  their 
hands  with  the  blood  of  Christ  and  his  apostles,  and 
so  filling  up  the  measure  of  their  iniquities. 

1 6.  Wash  you,  make  you  clean ;  put  away 
the  evil  of  your  doings  from  before  mine 
eyes;  cease  to  do  evil ;  1 7.  Learn  to  do  well : 
seek  judgment, relieve  the  oppressed;  judge 
the  fatherless;  plead  for  the  widow.  18. 
Come  now,  let  us  reason  together,  saith  the 
Lord  :  Though  your  sins  be  as  scarlet,  they 
shall  be  as  white  as  snow;  though  they  be 
red  like  crimson,  they  shall  be  as  wool.  1 9. 
If  ye  be  willing  and  obedient,  ye  shall  eat 
the  good  of  the  land :  20.  But  if  ye  refuse 

and  rebel,  ye  shall  be  devoured  with  the 
sword:  for  the  mouth  of  the  Lord  hath 
spoken  it. 

Though  God  has  rejected  their  services  as  insuffi¬ 
cient  to  atone  for  their  sins,  while  they  persisted  in 
them,  yet  he  does  not  reject  them  as  in  a  hopeless 
condition;  but  here  calls  upon  them  to  forsake  their 
sins,  which  hindered  the  acceptance  of  their  servi¬ 
ces,  and  then  all  would  be  well.  Let  them  not  say 
that  God  picked  quarrels  with  them;  no,  he  pro¬ 
poses  a  method  of  reconciliation.  Observe  here, 

1.  A  call  to  repentance  and  reformation ;  “  If  you 
would  have  your  sacrifices  accepted,  and  your 
prayers  answered,  you  must  begin  your  work  at  the 
right  end;  Be  converted  to  my  law,”  (so  the  Chal¬ 
dee  begins  this  exhortation,)  “make  conscience  of 
second-table-duties,  else  expect  net  to  be  accepted 
in  the  acts  of  your  devotion.  ”  As  justice  and  charity 
will  never  atone  for  atheism  and  profaneness,  so 
prayers  and  sacrifices  will  never  atone  for  fraud  and 
oppression;  for  righteousness  toward  men  is  as  much 
a  branch  of  pure  religion,  as  religion  toward  God  if 
a  branch  of  universal  righteousness. 

1.  They  must  cease  to  do  evil,  must  do  no  more 


19 


ISAIAH,  I. 


wrong,  shed  no  more  innocent  blood;  that  is  the 
meaning  of  washing  them,  and  making  them  clean, 
v.  16.  It  is  not  only  sorrowing  for  the  sin  they  had 
committed,  but  breaking  of!'  the  practice  of  it  for  the 
future,  and  mortifying  all  those  vicious  affections 
and  dispositions  which  incline  them  to  it.  Sin  is 
defiling  to  the  soul;  our  business  is  to  wash  ourselves 
from  it  bv  repenting  of  it,  and  turning  from  it  to 
God.  We  must  put  away  not  only  that  evil  of  our 
doings,  which  is  before  the  eye  of  the  world,  by  re¬ 
fraining  from  the  gross  acts  of  sin,  but  that  which  is 
before  God’s  eyes,  the  roots  and  habits  of  sin,  that 
are  in  our  hearts;  those  must  be  crushed  and  mor¬ 
tified. 

2.  They  must  leant  to  do  well.  This  was  neces¬ 
sary  to  the  completing  of  their  repentance.  Note, 
It  is  not  enough  that  we  cease  to  do  evil,  but  we 
must  learn  to  do  well.  (1.)  We  must  be  doing;  not 
cease  to  do  evil,  and  then  stand  idle.  (2.)  We  must 
be  doing  good,  the  good  which  the  Lord  our  God  re- 
uires,  and  which  will  turn  to  a  good  account.  (3. ) 
Ye  must  do  it  well,  in  a  right  manner,  and  for  a 
right  end;  and,  (4.)  We  must  learn  to  do  well,  we 
must  take  pains  to  get  the  knowledge  of  our  duty, 
be  inquisitive  concerning  it,  in  care  about  it,  and  ac¬ 
custom  ourselves  to  it,  that  we  may  readily  turn  cur 
hands  to  our  work,  and  become  masters  of  this  holy 
art  of  doing  well. 

He  urges  them  particularly  to  those  instances  of 
well-doing,  wherein  they  had  been  defective;  to  se¬ 
cond-table-duties;  “Seek judgment;  inquire  what  is 
right,  that  ye  may  do  it:  be  solicitous  to  be  found  in 
the  way  of  your  duty,  and  do  not  walk  at  all  adven¬ 
tures;  seek  opportunities  of  doing  good.  Relieve 
the  oppressed,  those  whom  you  yourselves  have  op¬ 
pressed;  ease  them  of  their  burthens,  ch.  lviii.  6. 
You  that  have  power  in  your  hands,  use  it  for  the 
relief  of  those  whom  others  do  oppress,  for  that  is 
your  business;  right  those  that  suffer  wrong;  in  a 
special  manner  concern  yourselves  for  the  fatherless 
and  the  widow,  whom,  because  they  are  weak  and 
helpless,  proud  men  trample  upon  and  abuse;  do 
you  appear  for  them  at  the  bar,  on  the  bench,  as 
there  is  occasion;  speak  for  those  that  know  not  how 
to  speak  for  themselves,  and  that  have  not  where¬ 
withal  to  gratify  you  for  vour  kindness.”  Note, 
W e  are  truly  honouring  God  when  we  are  doing 
good  in  the  world;  and  acts  of  justice  and  charity  are 
more  pleasing  to  him  than  all  burnt-offerings  and 
sacrifices. 

II.  A  demonstration,  at  the  bar  of  right  reason, 
of  the  equity  of  God’s  proceeding  with  them;  “ Come 
now,  and  let  us  reasoti  together;  {y.  18.)  while  your 
hands  are  full  of  blood,  I  will  have  nothing  to  do 
with  you,  though  you  bring  me  a  multitude  of  sacri¬ 
fices:  but  if  you  wash  you,  and  make  you  clean,  you 
are  welcome  todraw  nigh  to  me;  come  now,  and  let 
us  talk  the  matter  over.  ”  Note,  Those,  and  those 
only,  that  break  off  their  league  with  sin,  shall  be 
welcome  into  covenant  and  communion  with  God; 
he  says,  Come  now,  who  before  God  forbade  them 
his  courts.  See  Jam.  iv.  8.  Or  rather  thus;  there 
were  those  among  them  who  looked  upon  them¬ 
selves  as  offended  by  the  slights  God  put  upon  the 
multitude  of  their  sacrifices,  as  ch.  lviii.  3.  Where¬ 
fore  have  we  fasted,  (say  thev,)  and  thou  seest  not ? 
They  represented  God  as  a  hard  Master,  whom  it 
was  impossible  to  please;  “  Come,”  says  God,  “  let 
us  debate  the  matter  fairly,  and  I  doubt  not  but  to 
m  ike  it  out  that  my  ways  are  equal,  but  yours  are 
unequal.”  Ezek.  xviii.  25.  Note,  1.  Religion  has 
re  son  on  its  side:  there  is  all  the  reason  in  the  world 
that  we  should  do  as  God  would  have  us  to  do.  2. 
The  God  of  heaven  condescends  to  reason  the  case 
with  those  who  contradict  him  and  find  fault  with 
ms  proceedings,  for  he  will  be  justified  when  he 
•‘beaks,  Ps.  li.  4.  The  case  needs  only  to  be  stated, 


(as  it  is  here  very  fairly,)  and  it  will  determine  it 
.self.  Gcd  shows  here  upon  what  terms  they  stood, 
(as  he  does  Ezek.  xviii.  21,  24. — xxxiii.  18,  19.) 
and  then  leaves  it  to  them  to  judge  whether  thev 
were  not  fair. 

(1.)  They  cannot  in  reason  expect  any  more  than 
that,  it  they  repent  and  reform,  they  should  be  re¬ 
stored  to  God’s  favour,  notwithstanding  theirformer 
provocations;  “This  you  may  expect,”  says  God, 
“  and  it  is  very  kind;  who  could  have  the  face  to  de¬ 
sire  it  upon  any  other  terms?”  [1.]  “  It  is  very  lit¬ 
tle  that  is  required,  only  that  you  be  willing  and 
obedient,  that  you  consent  to  obey;”  so  some  read 
it;  “  that  you  subject  your  wills  to" the  will  of  God, 
acquiesce  in  that,  and  give  up  yourselves  in  all 
things  to  be  ruled  by  him  that  is  infinitely  wise  and 
good.”  Hereisnopenance  imposed  for  their  former 
stubbornness,  nor  the  yoke  made  heavier,  or  bound 
harder,  on  their  necks;  only,  “Whereas  hitherto 
you  have  been  perverse  and  refractory,  and  would 
not  comply  with  that  which  was  for  your  own  good, 
now  be  tractable,  be  governable.  ”  He  does  not  say, 
“  If  you  be  perfectly  obedient,”  but,  “  If  you  be  wil¬ 
lingly  so;”  for  if  there  be  a  willing  mind,  it  is  ac¬ 
cepted.  [2.  ]  That  is  very  great,  which  is  promised 
hereupon,  first.  That  all  their  sins  should  be  par¬ 
doned  to  them,  and  should  not  be  mentioned  against 
them ;  “  Though  they  be  as  red  as  scarlet  and 
crimson,  though  you  "lie  under  the  guilt  of  blood, 
yet,  upon  your  repentance,  even  that  shall  be  for¬ 
given  you,  and  you  shall  appear  in  the  sight  of  God 
as  white  as  snow.”  Note,  The  greatest  sinners,  if 
they  truly  repent,  shall  have  their  sins  forgiven 
them,  and  so  have  their  consciences  pacified  ar.d 
purified.  Though  our  sins  have  been  as  scarlet  and 
crimson,  a  deep  dye,  a  double  dye,  first  in  the  wool 
of  original  corruption,  and  afterwards  in  the  many 
threads  of  actual  transgression,  though  we  have 
been  often  dipped,  by  our  many  backslidings,  into 
sin,  and  though  we  have  lain  long  soaking  in  it,  as 
the  cloth  does  in  the  scarlet  dye,  yet  pardoning 
mercy  will  thoroughly  discharge  the  stain,  and,  be¬ 
ing  by  it  purged  as  with  hyssop,  we  shall  be  clean, 
Ps.  li.  7.  If  we  make  ourselves  clean  by  repentance 
and  reform  ation,(r.  16.)  God  will  make  us  white  bv 
a  full  remission.  Secondly,  That  they  should  have 
all  the  happiness  and  comfort  they  could  desire; 
“Be  but  willing  and  obedient  and  you  shall  eat  the 
good  of  the  land,  the  land  of  promise;  you  shall 
have  all  the  blessings  of  the  new  covenant,  of  the 
heavenly  Canaan;  all  the  good  of  that  land.  ”  They 
that  go  on  in  sin,  though  they  dwell  in  a  good  land, 
cannot  with  any  comfort  eat  the  good  of  it,  guilt  im- 
bitters  all;  but  if  sin  be  pardoned,  creature-comforts 
become  comforts  indeed. 

(2. )  They  cannot  in  reason  expect  any  other  than 
that,  if  they  continue  obstinate  in  their  disobedience, 
they  should  be  abandoned  to  ruin,  and  the  sentence 
of  the  law  should  be  executed  upon  them;  what  can 
be  more  just?  (v.  20.)  “  If  you  refuse  and  rebel,  ii 
you  continue  to  rebel  against  the  divine  government, 
and  refuse  the  effers  of  divine  grace,  you  shall  be 
devoured  with  the  sword;  with  the  sword  of  your 
enemies,  which  shall  be  commissioned  to  destroy 
you,  with  the  sword  of  God’s  justice,  his  wrath,  anil 
vengeance,  which  shall  be  drawn  against  you;  for 
this  is  that  which  the  mouth  o  f  the  Lord  has' spoken, 
and  which  he  will  make  good,  for  the  maintaining 
of  his  own  honour.”  Note,  Those  that  will  not  be 
governed  by  God’s  sceptre,  will  certainly  and  justly 
be  devoured  by  his  sword.  ’ 

“  And  now  life  and  death,  good  and  evil,  are  thus 
set  before  you;  Come  and  let  us  reason  together. 
What  have  you  to  object  against  the  equity  of  this 
or  against  complying  with  God’s  terms?” 

21 .  How  is  the  faithful  city  become  a  hai 


'.’0 


ISAIAH,  1. 


lot!  it  was  full  of  judgment;  righteousness 
lodged  in  it;  but  now  murderers.  22.  Thy 
silver  is  become  dross,  thy  wine  mixed  with 
water:  23.  Thy  princes  are  rebellious,  and 
companions  of  thieves:  every  one  loveth 
gifts,  and  followeth  after  rewards:  they  judge 
not  the  fatherless,  neither  doth  the  cause  of 
the  widow  come  unto  them.  24.  Therefore 
saith  the  Lord,  the  Lord  of  hosts,  the 
Mighty  One  of  Israel,  Ah,  I  will  ease  me  of 
mine  adversaries,  and  avenge  me  of  mine 
enemies :  25.  And  I  will  turn  my  hand  upon 
thee,  and  purely  purge  away  thy  dross,  and 
take  away  all  thy  tin  :  26.  And  I  will  re¬ 

store  thy  judges  as  at  the  first,  and  thy  coun¬ 
sellors  as  at  the  beginning:  afterward  thou 
shalt  be  called,  The  city  of  righteousness, 
Tire  faithful  city.  27.  Zion  shall  be  redeem¬ 
ed  with  judgment,  and  her  converts  with 
righteousness.  28.  And  the  destruction  of 
the  transgressors  and  of  the  sinners  shall  be 
together,  and  they  that  forsake  the  Lord 
shall  be  consumed.  29.  For  they  shall  be 
ashamed  of  the  oaks  which  ye  have  desired, 
and  ye  shall  be  confounded  for  the  gardens 
that  ye  have  chosen.  30.  For  ye  shall  be 
as  an  oak  whose  leaf  fadeth,  and  as  a  gar¬ 
den  that  hath  no  water.  31.  And  the  strong 
shall  be  as  tow,  and  the  maker  of  it  as  a 
spark,  and  they  shall  both  burn  together, 
and  none  shall  quench  them. 

Here, 

I.  The  woful  degeneracy  of  Judah  and  Jerusalem 
is  sadly  lamented.  See,  1.  What  the  royal  city  had 
been;  a  faithful  city,  faithful  to  God  and  the  inte¬ 
rests  of  his  kingdom  among  men;  faithful  to  the  na¬ 
tion  and  its  public  interests.  It  was  full  of  judg¬ 
ment;  justice  was  duly  administered  upon  the  thrones 
of  judgment  which  were  set  there,  the  thrones  of 
the  house  of  David,  Ps.  exxii.  5.  Men  were  gene¬ 
rally  honest  in  their  dealings,  and  abhorred  to  do  an 
unjust  thing;  righteousness  lodged  in  it,  was  con¬ 
stantly  resident  in  their  palaces  and  in  all  their 
dwellings,  not  called  in  now  and  then  to  serve  a 
turn,  but  at  home  there.  Note,  Neither  holy  cities, 
nor  royal  ones,  neither  places  where  religion  is  pro¬ 
fessed,  nor  places  where  government  is  administer¬ 
ed,  are  faithful  to  their  trust,  if  religion  do  not  dwell 
in  them.  2.  What  it  was  now  become  :  that  beau¬ 
teous  virtuous  spouse  was  now  debauched,  and  be¬ 
come  an  adulteress;  righteousness  no  longer  dwelt 
in  Jerusalem,  ( terras  Astrsea  reliquit — Astrea  left 
the  earth,)  even  murderers  were  unpunished,  and 
lived  undisturbed  there;  nay,  the  princes  themselves 
were  so  cruel  and  oppressive,  that  they  were  be¬ 
come  no  better  than  murderers;  an  innocent  man 
might  better  guard  himself  against  a  troop  of  ban¬ 
ditti  or  assassins,  than  against  a  bench  of  such 
judges.  Note,  It  is  a  great  aggravation  of  the  wick¬ 
edness  of  any  family  or  people,  that  their  ancestors 
were  famed  for  virtue  and  probity;  and  commonly 
Sfcose  that  thus  degenerate,  prove  the  most  wicked 
* all  others.  Corrufitio  ofitimi  est  pessima — That 
7 :hkh  originally  mas  the  best,  when  corrupted,  be- 
.onies  the  worst,  Luke  xi.  26.  Eccl.  iii.  16.  See 
h  r  xxiii.  15--17. 

This  is  illustrated,  (1.)  By  similitudes;  (y.  22.) 
Thy  silver  is  become  dross;  this  degeneracy  of  the 


magistrates,  whose  character  is  the  reverse  of  that 
of  their  predecessors,  is  as  great  a  reproach  and  in¬ 
jury  to  the  kingdom,  as  the  debasing  of  their  coin 
would  be,  and  the  turning  of  their  silver  into  dross. 
Righteous  princes,  and  righteous  cities,  are  as  silver 
for  the  treasury;  but  unrighteous  ones  are  as  dross 
for  the  dunghill — Dow  is  the  gold  become  dim !  Lam. 
iv.  1.  Thy  wine  is  mixed  with  water,  and  so  is  be¬ 
come  flat  and  sour.  Some  understand  both  these 
literally;  the  wine  they  sold  was  adulterated,  it  was 
half  water;  the  money  they  paid  was  counterfeit, 
and  so  they  cheated  all  they  dealt  with.  But  it  is 
rather  to  be  taken  figuratively :  justice  was  pervert¬ 
ed  by  their  princes;  and  religion  and  the  word  of 
God  were  sophisticated  by  their  priests,  and  made 
to  serve  what  turn  they  pleased.  Dross  may  shine 
like  silver,  and  the  wine  that  is  mixed  with  water 
may  retain  the  colour  of  wine,  but  neither  is  worth 
any  thing.  Thus  they  retained  a  show  and  pretence 
of  virtue  and  justice,  but  had  no  tme  sense  of  either. 
(2.)  By  some  instances;  ( v .  23.)  “Thy  princes,  that 
should  keep  others  in  their  allegiance  to  God,  and 
subjection  to  his  law,  are  themselves  rebellious,  and 
set  God  and  his  law  at  defiance.”  They  that  should 
restrain  thieves,  proud  and  rich  oppressors,  those 
worst  of  robbers,  and  those  that  designedly  cheat 
their  creditors,  who  are  no  better,  they  are  them¬ 
selves  companions  of  thieves,  connive  at  them,  do  as 
they  do,  and  with  greater  security  and  success,  be¬ 
cause  they  are  princes,  and  have  power  in  their 
hands;  they  share  with  the  thieves  they  protect  in 
their  unlawful  gain,  (Ps.  1.  18.)  and  cast  in  their  lot 
among  them,  Prov.  i.  13,  14.  [1.]  The  profit  of 
their  places  is  all  their  aim;  to  make  the  best  hand 
they  can  of  them,  right  or  wrong.  They  love  gifts, 
and  follow  after  reward;  they  set  their  hearts  upon 
their  salary,  the  fees  and  perquisites  of  their  offices, 
and  are  greedy  of  them,  and  never  think  they  can 
get  enough;  nay,  they  will  do  any  thing,  though 
ever  so  contrary  to  law  and  justice,  for  a  gift  in  se¬ 
cret.  Presents  and  gratuities  will  blind  their  eyes 
at  any  time,  and  make  them  pervert  judgment: 
these  they  love,  and  are  eager  in  the  pursuit  of, 
Hos.  iv.  18.  [2.]  The  duty  of  their  places  is  none 
of  their  care ;  they  ought  to  protect  those  that  are 
injured,  and  take  cognizance  of  the  appeals  made 
to  them;  why  else  were  they  preferred?  But  they 
judge  not  the  fatherless,  take  no  care  to  guard  the 
orphans,  nor  does  the  cause  of  the  widow  come  unto 
them;  because  the  poor  widow  has  no  bribe  to  give, 
with  which  to  make  way  for  her,  and  to  bring  her 
cause  on.  Those  will  have  a  great  deal  to  answei 
for,  who,  when  they  should  be  the  patrons  of  the 
oppressed,  are  their  greatest  oppressors. 

II.  A  resolution  is  taken  up  to  redress  these  griev¬ 
ances;  (y.  24.)  Therefore  saith  the  Lord,  the  Lord 
of  hosts,  the  Mighty  One  of  Israel,  who  has  power  to 
make  good  what  he  says,  who  has  hosts  at  command 
for  the  executing  of  his  purposes,  and  whose  power 
is  engaged  for  Israel;  Ah,  I  will  ease  me  of  mine  ad¬ 
versaries.  Observe,  1.  Wicked  people,  especially 
wicked  rulers  that  are  cruel  and  oppressive,  are 
God’s  enemies,  his  adversaries,  and  shall  so  be  ac¬ 
counted  of,  and  so  dealt  with.  If  the  holy  seed  cor¬ 
rupt  themselves,  they  are  the  foes  of  his  own  house. 
2.  They  are  a  burthen  to  the  God  of  heaven,  which 
is  implied  in  his  easing  himself  of  them;  the  Mighty 
One  of  Israel,  that  can  bear  any  thing,  nay,  that  up¬ 
holds  all  things,  complains  of  his  being  wearied  with 
men’s  iniquities,  ch.  xliii.  24.  Amos  li.  13.  3.  God 

will  find  out  a  time  and  a  way  to  ease  himself  of 
this  burthen,  by  avenging  himself  on  those  that  thus 
bear  hard  upon  his  patience.  He  here  speaks  as 
one  triumphing  in  the  foresight  of  it;  Ah,  I  will  ease 
me.  He  will  ease  the  earth  of  the  burthen  under 
which  it  groans,  (Rom.  viii.  21,  22.)  will  ease  his 
own  name  of  the  reproaches  with  which  it  is  loaded. 


in 


ISAIAH,  11. 


He  will  be  eased  of  his  adversaries,  by  taking  ven¬ 
geance  on  hts  enemies;  he  will  s/me  them  out  of  his 
'mouth,  and  so  be  eased  of  them,  Rev.  iii.  16.  He 
speaks  with  pleasure  of  the  clay  of  vengeance  being 
in  his  heart,  ch.  lxiii.  4.  If  God’s  professing  people 
conform  not  to  his  image,  as  the  Holy  One  of  Israel, 
(?'.  4. )  they  shall  feel  the  weight  of  His  hand  as  the 
. Mighty  One  of  Israel:  his  power,  which  was  wont  to 
be  engaged  for  them,  shall  be  armed  against  them. 

T  wo  ways  God  will  ease  himself  of  this  grievance: 

(1.)  By  reforming  his  church  and  restoring  good 
judges  in  the  room  of  those  corrupt  ones.  Though 
the  church  has  a  great  deal  of  dross  in  it,  yet  it  shall 
not  be  thrown  away,  but  refined;  (i>.  25.  )  “  I  will 
purely  purge  away  thy  dross;  I  will  amend  what  is 
amiss.  Vice  and  profaneness  shall  be  suppressed, 
and  put  out  of  countenance;  oppressors  displaced, 
and  deprived  of  their  power  to  do  mischief.  ”  When 
things  are  ever  so  bad,  God  can  set  them  to  rights, 
and  bring  about  a  complete  reformation;  when  he 
begins,  he  will  make  an  end,  will  take  away  all 
the  tin. 

Observe,  [1.]  The  reformation  of  a  people  is 
God’s  own  work ;  and,  if  ever  it  be  done,  it  is  he  that 
brings  it  about;  “  I  will  turn  my  hand  upon  thee;  I 
will  do  that  for  the  reviving  of  religion,  which  I  did, 
at  first,  for  the  planting  of  it.”  He  can  do  it  easily, 
with  the  turn  of  his  hand;  but  he  does  it  effectually, 
for  what  opposition  can  stand  before  the  arm  of  the 
Lord  revealed?  [2.]  He  does  it  by  blessing  them 
with  good  magistrates,  and  good  ministers  ot  state; 
(n.  26.)  “I  will  restore  thy  judges,  as  at  the  first, 
to  put  the  laws  into  execution  against  evil-doers; 
and  thy  counsellors,  to  transact  public  affairs,  as  at 
the  beginning;”  either  the  same  persons  that  had 
been  turned  out,  or  others  of  the  same  character. 
[3.]  He  does  it  by  restoring  judgment  and  righ¬ 
teousness  among  them,  (y.  27.)  by  planting  in  men’s 
minds  principles  of  justice,  and  governing  their  lives 
by  those  principles.  Men  may  do  much  by  exter¬ 
nal  restraints;  hut  God  does  it  effectually  by  the  in¬ 
fluences  of  his  Spirit,  as  a  Spirit  of  Judgment,  ch. 
iv.  4. — xxviii.  6.  SeePs.  lxxxv.  10,  11.  [4.]  The 
reformation  of  a  people  will  be  the  redemption  of 
them  and  their  converts,  for  sin  is  the  worst  cap¬ 
tivity,  the  worst  slavery;  and  the  great  and  eternal 
redemption  is  that  by  which  Israel  is  redeemed from 
all  his  iniquities;  (Ps.  exxx.  8.)  and  the  blessed  Re¬ 
deemer  is  he  that  turns  away  ungodliness  from 
Jacob,  (Rom.  xi.  26.)  and  saves  his  people  from 
their  sins,  Matth.  i.  21.  All  the  redeemed  of  the 
Lord  shall  be  converts,  and  their  conversion  is  then- 
redemption.  Her  converts,  or,  they  that  return  of 
her;  so  the  margin.  God  works  deliverance  for  us, 
by  preparing  us  for  it  with  judgment  and  righteous¬ 
ness.  [5.]  The  reviving  of  a  people’s  virtue,  is  the 
restoring  of  their  honour;  Afterward  thou  shall  be 
called  the  city  of  righteousness,  the  faithful  city; 
First,  Thou  shaft  fie  so;  the  reforming  of  the  magis¬ 
tracy  is  a  good  step  toward  the  reforming  of  the  city 
and  the  country  too.  Secondly,  Thou  shalt  have 
the  praise  of  being  so;  and  a  greater  praise  there 
cannot  be  to  any  city,  than  to  be  called  the  city  of 
righteousness,  and  to  retrieve  the  ancient  honour, 
which  was  lost,  when  the  faithful  city  became  a 
harlot,  v.  21. 

(2.)  Bv  cutting  off  those  that  hate  to  be  reform¬ 
ed,  that  they  may  not  remain  either  as  snares,  or  as 
scandals,  to  the  faithful  city.  [1.]  It  is  an  utter 
ruin  that  is  here  threatened.  They  shall  be  de¬ 
stroyed  and  consumed,  and  not  chastened  and  cor¬ 
rected  only.  The  extirpation  of  them  will  be  ne¬ 
cessary  to  the  redemption  of  Zion.  [2.]  It  is  a  uni¬ 
versal  ruin,  which  will  involve  the  transgressors 
and  the  sinners  together;  the  openly  profane,  that 
have  quite  cast  off  all  religion,  and  the  hypocrites, 
that  live  wicked  lives  under  the  cloak  cf  a  religious 


J  profession — they  sliall  both  be  destroyed  together; 
;  tor  they  are  both  alike  an  abomination  to  God,  both 
those  that  contradict  religion,  and  thoSe  that  con¬ 
tradict  themselves  in  their  pretensions  to  it.  And 
they  that  forsake  the  Lord,  to  whom  they  had  for 
merly  joined  themselves,  shall  be  consumed  as  the 
water  in  the  conduit-pipe  is  soon  consumed  when  it 
is  cut  off  from  the  fountain.  [3.]  It  is  an  inevitable 
ruin;  there  is  no  escaping  it. 

First,  Their  idols  shall  not  be  able  to  help  them; 
the  oaks  which  they  have  desired,  and  the  gardens 
which  they  have  chosen;  the  images,  the  dunghill- 
gods,  which  they  have  worshipped  in  their  groves, 
and  under  the  green  trees,  which  they  were  iond  of, 
and  wedded  to,  for  which  they  forsook  the  true  God, 
and  which  they  worshipped  privately  in  their  own 
gardens,  even  then  when  idolatry  was  publicly  dis¬ 
countenanced.  This  was  the  practice  of  the  trans¬ 
gressors  and  the  sinners;  but  they  shall  be  ashamed 
of  it,  not  with  a  show  of  repentance,  but  of  despair, 
v.  29.  They  shall  have  cause  to  be  ashamed  of 
them;  for  after  all  the  court  they  have  made  to  them, 
they  shall  find  no  benefit  by  them;  but  the  idols 
themselves  shall  go  into  captivity,  ch.  xlvi.  1,  2. 
Note,  They  that  make  creatures  their  confidence, 
are  but  preparing  confusion  for  themselves.  You 
were  fond  of  the  oaks  and  the  gm-dens;  but  you 
yourselves  shall  be,  1.  Like  an  oak  without  leaves, 
withered  and  blasted,  and  stripped  of  all  its  orna¬ 
ments.  Justly  do  those  wear  no  leaves,  that  bear 
no  fruit;  as  the  fig-tree  that  Christ  cursed.  2.  Like 
a  garden  without  water,  that  is  neither  rained  upon, 
nor  watered  with  the  foot,  (Deut.  xi.  10.)  that  has 
no  fountains,  (Cant.  iv.  15.)  and  consequently,  is 
parched,  and  all  the  fruits  of  it  gone  to  decay. 
Thus  shall  they  be,  that  trust  in  idols,  or  in  an  arm 
of  flesh,  Jer.  xvii.  5,  6.  But  they  that  trust  in  God 
never  find  him  as  a  wilderness,  or  as  waters  that 
fail,  Jer.  ii.  31. 

Seco?idly,  They  shall  not  be  able  to  help  them¬ 
selves;  (r.  31.)  Fven  the  strong  man  shall  be  as  tow; 
not  only  soon  broken,  and  pulled  to  pieces,  but  easily 
catching  fire;  and  his  work,  (so  the  margin  reads 
it,)  that  by  which  he  hopes  to  fortify  and  secure 
himself,  shall  be  as  a  spark  to  his  own  tow,  shall 
set  him  on  fire,  and  he  and  his  wofk  shall  burn  to¬ 
gether.  His  own  counsels  shall  be  his  ruin;  his  own 
sin  kindles  the  fire  of  God’s  wrath,  which  shall  burn 
to  the  lowest  hell,  and  none  shall  quench  it.  When 
the  sinner  has  made  himself  as  tow  and  stubble, 
and  God  makes  himself  to  him  as  a  consuming  fire, 
what  can  prevent  the  utter  ruin  of  the  sinner? 

Now  all  this  is  applicable,  1.  To  the  blessed  work 
of  reformation,  which  was  wrought  in  Hezekiah’s 
time,  after  the  abominable  corruptions  of  the  reign 
of  Ahaz.  Then  good  men  came  to  be  preferred,  and 
the  faces  of  the  wicked  were  filled  with  shame.  2. 
To  their  return  out  of  their  captivity  in  Babylon, 
which  had  thoroughly  cured  them  of  idolatry.  3. 
To  the  gospel-kingdom,  and  the  pouring  out  of  the 
Spirit,  by  which  the  New  Testament  church  should 
be  made  a  new'  Jerusalem,  a  city  of  righteousness. 
4.  To  the  second  coming  of  Christ,  when  he  shall 
thoroughly  purge  his  floor,  his  field,  shall  gather 
the  wheat  into  his  barn,  into  his  garner,  and  burn 
the  chaff,  the  tares,  with  unquenchable  fire. 

CHAP.  II. 

With  this  chapter  begins  a  new  sermon,  which  is  continu¬ 
ed  in  the  two  following:  chapters.  The  subject  of  thi* 
discourse  is  Judah  and  Jerusalem,  v.  1.  In  this  chapter, 
the  prophet  speaks,  I.  Of  the  glory  of  the  Christians,  Je 
rusalem,  the  gospel-church  in  the  la!  ter  days,  in  the  ac¬ 
cession  of  many  to  it,  (v.  2,  3.)  and  the  great  peace  it 
should  introduce  into  the  world,  (v.  4.)  whence  he  infers 
the  duty  of  the  bouse  of  Jacob,  v.  5.  II.  Of  the  shame 
of  the  Jews,  Jerusalem,  as  it  then  was,  and  as  it  would 
1  be  after  its  rejecting  of  the  gospel,  and  being  rejected  o i 


ISAIAH,  11. 


God.  1.  Their  ain  was  their  shame,  v.  6..9.  2.  God 
by  his  judgments  would  humble  them,  and  put  them  to 
hame,  v.  10.  .  17.  They  should  themselves  be  ashamed 
of  their  confidence  in  their  idols,  and  in  an  arm  of  flesh, 
v.  19  .  .  22.  And  now  which  of  these  Jerusalems  will  we 
be  the  inhabitants  of?  Thai,  which  is  full  of  the  knowledge 
of  God,  which  will  be  our  everlasting  honour,  or  that 
which  is  full  of  horses  and  chariots,  and  silver  and  gold, 
and  such  idols,  which  will,  in  the  end,  be  our  shame. 

I.  npHE  word  that  Isaiah  the  son  of 
A  Amoz  saw  concerning  Judah  and 
Jerusalem.  2.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass 
in  the  last  days,  that  the  mountain  of  the 
Lord’s  house  shall  be  established  in  the  top 
of  the  mountains,  and  shall  be  exalted 
above  the  hills;  and  all  nations  shall  flow 
unto  it.  3.  And  many  people  shall  go  and 
say,  Come  ye,  and  let  us  go  up  to  the  moun¬ 
tain  of  the  Lord,  to  the  house  of  the  God 
of  Jacob;  and  he  will  teach  us  of  his  ways, 
and  we  will  walk  in  his  paths:  for  out  of 
Zion  shall  go  forth  the  law,  and  the  word 
of  the  Lord  from  Jerusalem.  4.  And  he 
shall  judge  among  the  nations,  and  shall  re¬ 
buke  many  people ;  and  they  shall  beat  their 
swords  into  ploughshares,  and  their  spears 
into  pruning-hooks :  nation  shall  not  lift  up 
sword  against  nation,  neither  shall  they 
learn  war  any  more.  5.  O  house  of  Jacob, 
come  ye,  and  let  us  walk  in  the  light  of  the 
Lord. 

The  particular  title  of  this  sermon,  ( v .  1.)  is  the 
same  with  the  general  title  of  the  book;  (ch.  i.  1.) 
only  that  what  is  there  called  the  vision,  is  here 
called  the  word  which  Isaiah  saw,  or  the  matter 
or  thing,  which  he  saw,  the  truth  of  which  he  had 
as  full  an  assurance  of  in  his  own  mind,  as  if  he  had 
seen  it  with  his  bodily  eyes.  Or,  this  word  was 
brought  to  him  in  a  vision,  he  saw  something,  when 
he  received  this  message  from  God.  St.  John  turn¬ 
ed  to  see  the  voice  that  spake  with  him,  Rev.  i.  12. 

This  sermon  begins  with  the  prophecy  relating 
to  the  last  days,  the  days  of  the  Messiah,  when 
his  kingdom  should  be  set  up  in  the  world,  at 
the  latter  end  of  the  Mosaic  economy.  In  the 
last  days  of  the  earthly  Jerusalem,  just  before  the 
destruction  of  it,  this  heavenly  Jerusalem  should  be 
erected,  Heb.  xii.  22.  Gal.  iv.  26.  Note,  Gospel- 
times  are  the  last  days.  For,  1.  They  were  long  in 
coming,  were  a  great  time  waited  for  by  the  Old 
Testament  saints,  and  came  at  last.  2.  We  are  not 
to  look  for  any  dispensation  of  divine  grace,  but 
what  we  have  in  the  gospel,  Gal.  i.  8,  9.  3.  We 

are  to  look  for  the  second  coming  of  Jesus  Christ  at 
the  end  of  time,  as  the  Old  Testament  saints  did 
for  his  first  coming;  this  is  the  last  time,  1  John  ii.  18. 
Now  the  prophet  here  foretells, 

I.  The  setting  up  of  the  Christian  church,  and 
the  planting  of  the  Christian  religion  in  the  world. 
Christianity  shall  then  be  the  mountain  of  the  Lord’s 
house;  where  that,  is  professed,  God  will  grant  his 
presence,  receive  his  people’s  homage,  and  grant 
instruction  and  blessing,  as  he  did  of  old  in  the  tem¬ 
ple  of  Mount  Zion.  The  gospel-church,  incorpo- 
r  ited  by  Christ’s  charter,  shall  then  be  the  ren¬ 
dezvous  of  all  the  spiritual  seed  of  Abraham.  Now 
it  is  here  promised,  1.  That  Christianity  shall  be 
openly  preached  and  professed;  it  shall  be  prepared 
(so  the  margin  reads  it)  in  the  top  of  the  mountains, 
in  the  view  and  hearing  of  all.  Hence  Christ’s  disci¬ 
ples  are  compared  to  a  city  on  a  hill,  which  cannot 


be  hid,  Matth.  v.  14.  They  had  many  eyes  upon 
them.  Christ  himself  spake  openly  to  the  world, 
John  xviii.  20.  What  the  apostles  did,  was  not 
done  in  a  comer,  Acts  xxvi.  26.  It  was  the  light¬ 
ing  of  a  beacon,  the  setting  up  of  a  standard.  Its 
being  ever)'  where  spoken  against,  supposes  that  it 
was  every  where  spoken  of.  2.  That  it  shall  be 
firmly  fixed  and  rooted;  that  it  shall  be  established 
on  the  top  of  the  everlasting  mountains,  built  upon 
a  rock,  so  that  the  gates  of  hell  shall  not  prevail 
against  it,  unless  they  could  pluck  up  mountains  by 
the  roots.  He  that  dwells  safely,  is  said  to  dwell 
on  high,  ch.  xxxiii.  16.  The  Lord  has  founded  the 
gospei-Zion.  3.  That  it  shall  not  only  overcome 
all  opposition,  but  overtop  all  competition;  it  shall 
be  exalted  above  the  hills.  This  wisdom  of  God 
in  a  mystery  shall  outshine  all  the  wisdom  of 
this  world,  all  its  philosophy,  and  all  its  politics. 
The  spiritual  worship  which  it  shall  introduce, 
shall  put  down  the  idolatries  of  the  heathen;  and 
all  other  institutions  in  religion  shall  appear  mean 
and  despicable,  in  comparison  with  this.  See  Ps. 
lxviii.  16.  Why  leap  ye,  ye  high  hills ?  This  is  the 
hill  which  God  desires  to  dwell  in. 

II.  The  bringing  in  of  the  Gentiles  into  it;  1. 
The  nations  shall  be  admitted  into  it,  even  the  un¬ 
circumcised,  who  were  forbidden  to  ceme  into  the 
courts  of  the  temple  at  Jerusalem;  the  partition- 
wall,  which  kept  them  out,  kept  them  off,  shall  be 
taken  down.  2.  sill  nations  shall  flow  into  it;  hav¬ 
ing  liberty  of  access,  they  shall  improve  their  li¬ 
berty,  and  multitudes  shall  embrace  the  Christian 
faith.  They  sh  ill  flow  into  it,  as  streams  of  water; 
which  denotes  the  abundance  of  converts  that  the 
gospel  should  make,  and  their  speed  and  cheerful¬ 
ness  in  coming  into  the  church.  They  shall  not  be 
forced  into  it,  but  shall  naturally  flow  into  it.  Thy 
people  shall  be  wilting;  all  volunteers,  Ps.  cx.  3. 
To  Christ  shall  the  gathering  of  the  people  be,  Gen. 
xlix.  10.  See  ch.  lx.  4,  5. 

III.  The  mutual  assistance  and  encouragement 
which  this  confluence  of  converts  shall  give  to  one 
another.  Their  pirus  affections  and  resolutions 
shall  be  so  intermixed,  that  they  shall  come  in, 
in  one  full  stream.  As  when  the  Jews  from  all 
parts  of  the  country  went  up  thrice  a  year  to  wor¬ 
ship  at  Jerusalem,  they  called  cn  their  friends  in 
the  road,  and  excited  them  to  go  along  with  them, 
so  shall  many  of  the  Gentiles  court  their  relations, 
friends,  and  neighbours,  to  join  with  them  in  em¬ 
bracing  the  Christian  religion;  (v.  3.)  “  Come,  and 
let  us  go  up  to  the  mountain  of  the  Lord;  though  it 
be  up  hill,  and  against  heart,  yet  it  is  the  mountain 
of  the  Lord,  who  will  assist  the  ascent  ef  our  srub 
toward  him.”  Note,  Those  that  are  entering  into 
covenant  and  communion  with  God  themselves, 
should  bring  as  many  as  they  can  along  with  them: 
it  becomes  Christians  to  provoke  one  another  to 
good  works,  and  to  further  the  communion  of  saints 
by  inviting  one  another  into  it:  not,  “  Do  veu  go  up 
to  the  mountain  of  the  Lord,  and  pray  for  us,  and 
we  will  stay  at  home;”  nor,  “  We  will  go,  and  do 
you  as  you  will;”  but,  “  Come,  and  let  us  go,  let 
us  go  in  concert,  that  we  may  strengthen  one  an¬ 
other’s  hands,  and  support  one  another’s  reputa¬ 
tion:”  not,  “  We  will  consider  of  it,  and  advise 
about  it,  and  go  hereafter;”  but,  “  Come,  and  let 
us  go  forthwith ,”  Ps.  exxii.  1.  Many  shall  say  this; 
those  that  have  had  it  said  to  them,  shall  say  it  to 
others.  The  gospel-church  is  here  called,  not  only 
the  mountain  of  the  Lord,  but  the  house  of  the  God 
of  Jacob;  for  in  it  God’s  covenant  with  Jaorb  and 
his  praying  seed  is  kept  up,  and  has  its  acccmplish- 
ment;  for  to  us  now,  as  unto  them,  he  never  said, 
Seek  ye  me,  in  vain,  ch.  xlv.  19. 

Now  see  here,  1,  What  they  promise  them¬ 
selves,  in  going  up  to  the  mountain  of  the  1  vj, 


ISAIAH,  II.  23 


There  hi  will  teach  us  of  his  ways.  Note,  God’s 
ways  are  to  be  learned  in  his  church,  in  communion 
with  his  people,  and  in  the  use  of  instituted  ordi¬ 
nances;  the  ways  of  duty,  which  he  requires  us  to 
walk,  in,  the  ways  of  grace,  in  which  he  walks  to¬ 
wards  us.  It  is  God  that  teaches  his  people,  by  his 
word  and  Spirit.  It  is  worth  while  to  take  pains  to 
go  up  to  his  holy  mountain,  to  be  taught  his  ways, 
tor  those  who  are  willing  to  take  that  pains,  shall 
never  find  it  labour  in  vain.  Then  shall  we  know, 
if  we  follow  on  to  know,  the  Lord.  2.  What  they 
p romise  for  themselves,  and  one  another;  “  If  he 
will  teach  us  his  ivays,  we  will  walk  in  his  paths; 
if  he  will  let  us  know  our  duty,  we  will  by  his  grace 
make  conscience  of  doing  it.”  Those  who  attend 
God’s  word  with  this  humble  resolution,  shall  not 
be  sent  away  without  their  lesson. 

IV.  The  means  by  which  this  shall  be  brought 
about;  Out  of  Zion  shall  go  forth  the  law,  the  New 
Testament  law,  the  law  of  Christ;  as,  of  old,  the 
law  of  Moses  from  mount  Sinai,  even  the  word  of 
the  Lord  from  Jerusalem.  The  gospel  is  a  law,  a 
law  of  faith;  it  is  the  word  of  the  Lord;  it  went 
forth  from  Zion,  where  the  temple  was  built,  and 
from  Jerusalem.  Christ  himself  began  in  Galilee, 
Matth.  iv.  23.  Luke  xxiii.  5.  But  when  he  com¬ 
missioned  his  apostles  to  preach  the  gospel  to  all  na¬ 
tions,  he  appointed  them  to  begin  at  Jerusalem, 
Luke  xxiv.  47.  See  Rom.  xv.  19.  Though  most 
of  them  had  their  home  in  Galilee,  yet  they  must 
stay  at  Jerusalem,  there  to  receive  the  promise  of 
the  Spirit,  Acts  i.  4.  And  in  the  temple  on  Mount 
Zion  they  preached  the  gospel,  Acts  v.  20.  This 
honour  was  allowed  to  Jerusalem,  even  after  Christ 
was  crucified  there,  for  the  sake  of  what  it  had 
been.  And  it  was  by  this  gospel  which  took  rise 
from  Jerusalem,  that  the  gospel-church  was  estab¬ 
lished  on  the  top  of  the  mountains.  This  was  the 
rod  of  divine  strength,  that  was  sent  forth  out  of 
Zion,  Ps.  cx.  2. 

V.  The  erecting  of  the  kingdom  of  the  Re¬ 
deemer  in  the  world;  He  shall  judge  among  the  na¬ 
tions.  He  whose  word  goes  forth  out  of  Zion,  shall 
by  that  word  not  only  subdue  souls  to  himself,  but 
rule  in  them,  v.  4.  He  shall,  in  wisdom  and  justice, 
order  and  overrule  the  affairs  of  the  world  for  the 
good  of  his  church,  and  rebuke  and  restrain  those 
that  oppose  his  interest.  By  his  Spirit  working  on 
men’s  consciences,  he  shall  judge  and  rebuke,  shall 
try  men,  and  check  them;  his  kingdom  is  spiritual, 
and  not  of  this  world. 

VI.  The  great  peace  which  should  be  the  effect 
of  the  success  of  the  gospel  in  the  world;  (y.  4.) 
They  shall  beat  their  swords  into  ploughshares; 
their  instruments  of  war  shall  be  converted  into  im¬ 
plements  of  husbandry;  as,  on  the  contrary,  when 
war  is  proclaimed,  ploughshares  are  beaten  into 
swords,  Joel  iii.  10.  Nation  shall  not  then  lift  up 
sword  against  nation,  as  now  they  do,  neither  shall 
they  learn  war  any  more,  for  they  shall  have  no 
more  occasion  for  it.  This  does  not  make  all  war 
absolutely  unlawful  among  Christians,  nor  is  it  a 
prophecy  that  in  the  days  of  the  Messiah  there 
shall  be  no  wars.  The  Jew*  urge  this  against 
Christians,  as  an  argument  that  Jesus  is  not  the 
Messiah,  because  this  promise  is  not  fulfilled.  But, 

1.  It  was  in  part  fulfilled  in  the  peaceableness  of 
the  time  in  which  Christ  was  bom,  when  wars  were 
in  a  great  measure  ceased;  witness  the  taxing, 
Luke  ii.  1.  2.  The  design  and  tendency  of  the 

gospel  are  to  make  peace,  and  to  slay  all  enmities. 

It  has  in  it  the  most  powerful  obligations  and  in¬ 
ducements  to  peace;  so  that  one  might  reasonably 
have  expected  it  should  have  had  this  effect,  and  it 
would  have  had  it,  if  it  had  not  been  for  those  lusts 
of  men,  from  which  come  wars  and  fightings.  3. 
Jews  and  Gentiles  were  reconciled,  and  brought  to-  1 


gether,  by  the  gospel,  and  there  were  no  more  such 
wars  between  them  as  had  been;  for  they  became 
one  sheep-fold  under  one  shepherd,  Eph.  ii.  15.  4. 

The  gospel  of  Christ,  as  far  as  it  prevails,  disposes 
men  to  be  peaceable,  softens  men’s  spirits,  and 
sweetens  them;  and  the  love  of  Christ,  shed  abroad 
in  the  heart,  constrains  men  to  love  one  another. 

5.  The  primitive  Christians  were  famous  for  bro¬ 
therly  love;  their  very  adversaries  took  notice  of  it. 

6.  We  have  reason  to  hope  that  this  promise  shall 
yet  have  a  more  full  accomplishment  in  the  latter 
times  of  the  Christian  church,  when  the  Spirit  shall 
be  poured  out  more  plentifully  from  on  high.  Then 
there  shall  be  on  earth  peace.  Who  shall  live  when 
God  doeth  this?  But  do  it  he  will  in  due  time,  for 
he  is  not  a  man  that  he  should  lie. 

Lastly,  Here  is  a  practical  inference  drawn  from 
all  this;  (v.  5.)  O  house  of  Jacob,  come  ye  and  let  us 
walk  in  the  light  of  the  Lord.  By  the  house  of  Ja¬ 
cob  is  meant  either,  1.  Israel  'according  to  the  flesh. 
Let  them  be  provoked  by  this  to  a  holy  emulation. 
Rom.  xi.  14.  “Seeing  the  Gentiles  are  thus  ready, 
and  resolved  for  God,  thus  forward  to  go  up  to  the 
house  of  the  Lord,  let  us  stir  up  ourselves  to  go  too. 
Let  it  never  be  said  that  the  sinners  of  the  Gentiles 
were  better  friends  to  the  holy  mountain,  than  the 
house  of  Jacob.”  Thus  the  zeal  of  some  should 

rovoke  many.  Or,  2.  Spiritual  Israel,  all  that  are 

rought  to  the  God  of  Jacob.  Shall  there  be  such 
great  knowledge  in  gospel  times,  (x>.  3.)  and  such 
great  peace?  ( v .  4.)  And  shall  we  share  in  these 
privileges?  Come,  then,  and  let  us  live  accordingly. 
Whatever  others  do,  come,  O  come,  let  us  walk  in 
the  light  of  the  I^ord.  (1.)  Let  us  walk  circum¬ 
spectly  in  the  light  of  this  knowledge.  Will  God 
teach  us  his  ways?  will  he  show  us  his  glory  in  the 
face  of  Christ*  Let  us  then  walk  as  the  children  of 
the  light  and  of  the  day,  Eph.  v.  8.  1  Thess.  v.  8. 

Rom.  xiii.  12.  (2.)  Let  us  walk  circumspectly  in  the 
light  of  this  peace.  Shall  there  be  no  more  war? 
Let  us  then  go  on  our  way  rejoicing,  and  let  this  jov 
terminate  in  God,  and  be’our  strength,  Neh.  viii.  10. 
Thus  shall  we  walk  in  the  beams  of  the  Sun  of 
righteousness. 

6.  Therefore  thou  hast  forsaken  thy  peo¬ 
ple,  the  house  of  Jacob,  because  they  be 
replenished  from  the  east,  and  are  sooth 
sayers  like  the  Philistines,  and  they  please 
themselves  in  the  children  of  strangers.  7. 
Their  land  also  is  full  of  silver  and  gold, 
neither  is  there  any  end  of  their  treasures; 
their  land  is  also  full  of  horses,  neither  is 
there  any  end  of  their  chariots.  8.  Their 
land  also  is  full  of  idols;  they  worship  the 
work  ot  their  own  hands,  that  which  their 
own  fingers  have  made.  9.  And  the  mean 
man  boweth  down,  and  the  great  man  hum- 
bleth  himself:  therefore  forgive  them  not. 

The  calling  in  of  the  Gentiles  was  accompanied 
with  the  rejection  of  the  Jews;  it  was  their  fall,  and 
the  diminishing  of  them,  that  was  the  riches  of  the 
Gentiles;  and  the  casting  off  of  them,  that  was  the 
reconciling  of  the  world;  (Rom.  xi.  12- - 15. )  and  it 
should  seem  that  these  verses  have  reference  to 
that,  and  are  designed  to  justify  God  therein;  and 
yet,  probably,  they  are  primarily  intended  for  the 
convincing  and  awakening  of  the  men  of  that  gene¬ 
ration  in  which  the  prophet  lived;  it  being  usual 
with  the  prophets  to  speak  of  the  things  that  then 
were,  both  in  mercy  and  judgment,  as  types  of  the 
things  that  should  be  hereafter.  Here  is, 

I.  Israel’s  doom ;  this  is  set  forth  in  two  words. 


34  ISAIAH,  11. 


ilie  first  and  last  of  this  paragraph;  but  they  are  two  I 
dreadful  words,  and  which  speak,  1.  Their  case  [ 
sad,  very  sad;  (y.  6.)  Therefore  thou  hast  forsaken 
thy  people.  Miserable  is  the  condition  of  that  peo¬ 
ple  whom  God  has  forsaken,  and  great  certainly 
must  the  provocation  be,  if  he  forsake  those  that 
have  been  his  own  people.  This  was  the  deplora¬ 
ble  state  of  the  Jewish  church  after  they  had  re¬ 
jected  Christ;  Migremus  hinc — Let  us  go  hence. 
Your  house  is  left  unto  you  desolate,  Matth.  xxiii. 
38.  Whenever  anv  sore  calamity  came  upon  the 
Jews,  thus  far  the  Lord  might  be  said  to  forsake 
them,  when  he  withdrew  his  help  and  succour  from 
them,  else  they  had  not  fallen  into  the  hands  of 
their  enemies.  But  God  never  leaves  any  till  they 
first  leave  him.  2.  Their  case  desperate,  wholly 
desperate;  ( v .  9.)  Therefore  forgive  them  not. 
This  prophetical  prayer  amounts  to  a  threatening, 
that  they  should  not  be  forgiven:  and  so  some  think 
it  may  be  read,  And  thou  wilt  not  forgive  them. 
This  refers  not  to  particular  persons,  (many  of 
whom  repented,  and  were  pardoned,)  but  to  the 
body  of  that  nation  against  whom  an  irreversible 
doom  was  passed,  that  they  should  be  wholly  cut 
off,  and  their  church  quite  dismantled,  never  to  be 
formed  into  such  a  body  again,  nor  ever  to  have 
their  old  charter  restored  to  them. 

II.  Israel’s  desert  of  this  doom,  and  the  reasons 
upon  which  it  is  grounded;  in  general,  it  is  sin;  that 
is  it,  and  nothing  but  that  which  provokes  God  to  for¬ 
sake  his  people.  The  particular  sins  he  specifies,  are 
such  as  abounded  among  them  at  that  time,  which 
he  makes  mention  of  for  the  conviction  of  those  to 
whom  he  then  preached,  rather  than  that  which 
afterward  proved  the  measure-filling  sin,  their  cru¬ 
cifying  of  Christ,  and  persecuting  of  his  followers; 
tor  the  sins  of  every  age  contributed  toward  the 
making  up  of  the  dreadful  account  at  last.  And 
there  was  a  partial  and  temporary  rejection  of 
them  by  the  captivity  in  Babylon  hastening  on, 
which  was  a  type  of  their  final  destruction  by  the 
Romans,  and  which  the  sins  here  mentioned  brought 
upon  them. 

Their  sins  were  such  as  directly  contradicted 
all  God’s  kind  and  gracious  designs  concerning 
them. 

1.  God  set  them  apart  for  himself,  as  a  peculiar 
people  distinguished  from,  and  dignified  above,  all 
other  people;  (Numb,  xxiii.  9.)  but  they  were  re¬ 
plenished  from  the  east;  they  naturalized  foreign¬ 
ers,  not  proselyted;  and  encouraged  them  to  settle 
among  them,  and  mingled  with  them,  Hos.  vii.  8. 
Their  country  was  peopled  with  Syrians  and  Chal¬ 
deans,  Moabites  and  Ammonites,  and  other  eastern 
nations,  and  with  them  they  admitted  the  fashions 
and  customs  of  those  nations,  and  pleased  themselves 
in  the  children  of  strangers,  were  fond  of  them,  pre¬ 
ferred  their  country  before  their  own,  and  thought 
that  the  more  they  conformed  to  them,  the  more 
polite  and  refined  they  were;  thus  did  they  profane 
their  crown  and  their  covenant.  Note,  Those  are 
in  danger  of  being  estranged  from  God,  who  please 
themselves  with  those  who  are  strangers  to  him, 
for  we  soon  learn  the  ways  of  those  whose  company 
we  love. 

2.  God  gave  them  his  oracles,  which  they  might 
ask  counsel  of,  not  only  the  scriptures,  and  the  seers, 
hut  the  breast-plate  o'f  judgment;  but  they  slighted 
these,  and  became  soothsayers  like  the  Philistines, 
introduced  their  arts  of  divination,  and  hearkened 
to  those  who,  by  the  stars,  or  the  clouds,  or  the 
flight  of  birds,  or  the  entrails  of  beasts,  or  other 
magic  superstitions,  pretended  to  discover  things  se¬ 
cret,  or  foretell  things  to  come;  the  Philistines  were 
noted  for  diviners,  1  Sam.  vi.  2.  Note,  Those  who 
slight  true  divinity,  are  justlv  given  up  to  lying  di¬ 
vinations;  and  they  will  certainly  be  forsaken  of 


!'  God,  who  thus  forsake  him  and  their  own  mercies 
1 !  for  lying  vanities. 

3.  God  encouraged  them  to  put  their  confidence 
in  him,  and  assured  them  th.it  he  would  be  their 
Wealth  and  Strength;  but,  disti-usting  his  power 
and  promise,  they  made  gold  their  hope,  and  fur¬ 
nished  themselves  with  horses  and  chariots,  and  re 
lied  upon  them  for  their  safety,  x>.  7.  God  had  ex¬ 
pressly  forbidden  even  their  kings  to  multiply  horses 
to  themselves,  and  greatly  to  multiply  silver  and 
gold,  because  he  would  have  them  to  depend  upon 
liimself  only;  but  they  did  not  think  their  interest  in 
God  made  them  a  match  for  their  neighbours,  unless 
they  had  as  full  treasures  of  silver  and  gold,  and  as 
formid;  ble  hosts  of  chariots  and  horses,  as  they  had. 
It  is  not  having  silver  and  gold,  horses  and  chariots, 
that  is  a  provocation  to  God,  but,  (1.)  Desiring 
them  insatiably,  so  that  there  is  no  end  of  the  trea¬ 
sures,  no  end  of  the  chariots,  no  bounds  or  limits 
set  to  the  desire  of  them.  Those  shall  never  have 
enough  in  God,  (who  alone  is  all-suflicient,)  that 
never  know  when  they  have  enough  of  this  world, 
which,  at  the  best,  is  insufficient.  (2.)  Depending 
upon  them,  as  if  we  could  not  be  safe,  and  easy,  and 
happy,  without  them,  and  could  not  but  be  so  with 
them. 

4.  God  himself  was  their  God,  the  sole  Object  of 
their  worship,  and  he  himself  'instituted  ordinances 
of  worship  for  them;  but  they  slighted  both  him 
and  his  instljAions;  (m  8. )  their  land  was  full  of 
idols,  every  city  had  its  god,  (Jer.  xi.  13.)  and,  ac¬ 
cording  to  the  goodness  of  their  lands,  they  made 
goodly  images,  Hos.  x.  1.  They  that  think  one 
Gcd  too  little,  will  find  two  too  many,  and  yet  hun¬ 
dreds  not  sufficient;  for  they  that  love  idols,  will 
multiply  them;  so  sottish  were  they,  and  so  wretch¬ 
edly  infatuated,  that  they  worshipped  the  work  of 
their  own  hands;  as  if  that  could  be  a  god  to  them, 
which  was  not  only  a  creature,  but  their  creature, 
and  that  which  their  own  fancies  had  devised,  and 
their  own  fingers  had  made.  It  was  an  aggravation 
of  their  idolatry,  that  God  had  enriched  them  with 
silver  and  gold,  and  yet  of  that  silver  and  gold  they 
made  idols;  so  it  was,  Jeshurun  waxed  fat,  and 
kicked,  Hos.  ii.  8. 

5.  God  had  advanced  them,  and  put  honour  upon 
them;  but  they  basely  diminished  and  disparaged 
themselves;  (r.  9.)  The  mean  man  boweth  down  to 
his  idol;  a  thing  below  the  meanest  that  have  any 
spark  of  reason  left  them.  Sin  is  a  disparagement 
to  the  poorest,  and  those  of  the  lowest  rank.  It  be¬ 
comes  the  mean  man  to  bow  down  to  his  superiors, 
but  it  ill  becomes  him  to  bow  down  to  the  stock  of  a 
tree,  ch.  xhv.  19.  Nor  is  it  only  the  illiterate  and 
poor-spirited  that  do  this,  but  even  the  great  man 
forgets  his  grandeur,  and  humbles  himself  to  wor¬ 
ship  idols,  deifies  men  no  better  than  himself,  and 
consecrates  stones  so  much  baser  than  himself. 
Idolaters  are  said  to  debase  themselves  even  to  hell, 
ch.  lvii.  9.  What  a  shame  is  it,  that  great  men 
think  the  service  of  the  true  God  below  them,  and 
will  not  stoop  to  it;  and  yet  will  humble  themselves 
to  bow  down  to  an  idol!  Some  make  this  a  threaten¬ 
ing,  that  the  mean  men  shall  be  brought  down,  and 
the  great  men  humbled,  by  the  judgments  cf  God, 
when  they  come  with  commission. 

10.  Enter  into  the  rock,  and  hide  thee  in 
the  dust,  for  fear  of  the  Lord,  and  for  the 
glory  of  his  majesty.  11.  The  lofty  loo  s 
of  man  shall  be  humbled,  and  the  haughti¬ 
ness  of  men  shall  be  bowed  down  ;  and  the 
Lord  alone  shall  be  exalted  in  that  day. 
12.  For  the  day  of  the  Lord  of  hosts  shall 
be  upon  every  one  that  is  proud  and  lofty. 


25 


ISAIAH,  11. 


and  ipon  every  one  that  is  lifted  up,  and  he  | 
si  tall  be  brought  low ;  13.  And  upon  all  the 
cedars  of  Lebanon,  that  are  high  and  lifted  ' 
up,  and  upon  all  tbe  oaks  of  Bashan.  14. 
And  upon  all  the  high  mountains,  and  upon 
all  the  hills  that  are  lifted  up.  15.  And 
upon  every  high  tower,  and  upon  every 
fenced  wail,  16.  And  upon  all  the  ships 
of  Tarshish,  and  upon  all  pleasant  pictures. 

1 7.  And  the  loftiness  of  man  shall  be  bowed 
down,  and  the  haughtiness  of  men  shall  be 
made  low;  and  the  Lord  alone  shall  be 
exalted  in  that  day.  18.  And  the  idols  he 
shall  utterly  abolish.  19.  And  they  shall 
go  into  the  holes  of  the  rocks,  and  into  the 
caves  of  the  earth,  for  fear  of  the  Lord,  and 
for  the  glory  of  his  majesty,  when  he  ariseth 
to  shake  terribly  the  earth.  20.  In  that  day 
a  man  shall  cast  his  idols  of  silver,  and  his 
idols  of  gold,  which  they  made  each  one  for 
himself  to  worship,  to  the  moles,  and  to  the 
bats;  21.  To  go  into  the  clefts  of  the  rocks, 
and  into  the  tops  of  the  ragged  rocks,  for 
fear  of  the  Lord,  and  for  the  glory  of  his  ma¬ 
jesty,  when  he  ariseth  to  shake  terribly  the 
earth.  22.  Cease  ye  from  man,  whose 
breath  is  in  his  nostrils ;  for  wherein  is  he  to 
be  accounted  of? 

The  prophet  here  goes  on  to  show  what  desola¬ 
tions  would  be  brought  upon  their  land,  when  God 
had  forsaken  them;  which  may  refer  particularly  to 
their  destruction  by  the  Chaldeans  first,  and  after¬ 
wards  by  the  Romans;  or  it  may  have  a  general 
respect  to  the  method  God  takes  to  awaken  and 
humble  proud  sinners,  and  to  put  them  out  of  con¬ 
ceit  with  that  which  they  delighted  in,  and  depend¬ 
ed  on,  more  than  God. 

We  are  here  told,  that,  sooner  or  later,  God  will 
find  out  a  way, 

I.  To  startle  and  awaken  secure  sinners,  who  cry 
peace  to  themselves,  and  bid  defiance  to  God  and 
his  judgments;  (v.  10.)  “  Enter  into  the  rock;  God 
will  attack  you  with  such  terrible  judgments,  and 
strike  you  with  such  terrible  apprehensions  of  them, 
that  you  shall  be  forced  to  enter  into  the  rock  and 
hide  you  in  the  dust,  for  fear  of  the  Lord.  You 
shall  lose  all  your  courage,  and  tremble  at  the  shak¬ 
ing  of  a  leaf;  your  heart  shall  fail  you  for  fear, 
(Luke  xxi.  26.  j  and  you  shall  flee  when  none  pur¬ 
sues,"  Prov.  xxviii.  1.  To  the  same  purport,  v.  19. 
They  shall  go  into  the  holes  of  the  rocks,  and  into 
the  caves  of  tie  earth,  the  darkest,  and  the  deepest, 
places;  they  shall  call  to  the  rocks  and  mountains 
to  fall  on  them,  and  rather  crash  them  than  not  co¬ 
ver  them,  Hos.  x.  8.  It  was  so  particularly  at  the 
destruction  of  Jerusalem  by  the  Romans,  (Lukexxiii. 
30.)  and  of  the  persecuting  pagan  powers,  Rev.  vi. 
16.  And  all,  for  fear  of  the  Lord  and  of  the  glory 
of  his  majesty,  looking  upon  him  then  to  be  a  con¬ 
suming  fire,  and  themselves  as  stubble  before  him, 
when  he  arises  to  shake  terribly  the  earth,  to  shake 
the  wicked  out  of  it,  (Job  xxxviii.  13.)  and  to  shake 
all  those  earthly  props  and  supports  which  they 
have  buoved  themselves  up  with,  to  shake  them 
from  under  them.  Note,  1.  With  God  is  terrible 
majesty,  and  the  glory  of  it  is  such  as,  sooner  or  la¬ 
ter,  will  oblige  us  all  to  flee  before  him.  2.  Those 
that  will  not  fear  God,  and  flee  to  him,  will  be  forced 

Vol.  iv. — D 


to  fear  him,  and  flee  from  him  to  a  refuge  of  lies, 

3.  It  is  folly  for  those  that  are  pursued  by  the 
wrath  of  God,  to  think  to  escape  it,  and  to  hide  or 
to  shelter  themselves  from  it.  4.  The  things  of  the 
earth  are  things  that  will  be  shaken;  they  are  sub¬ 
ject  to  concussions,  and  hastening  towards  a  dissolu¬ 
tion.  5.  The  shaking  of  the  earth  is,  and  will  be,  a 
terrible  thing  to  those  who  set  their  affections  wholly 
on  things  of  the  earth.  6.  It  will  be  in  vain  to 
think  of  finding  refuge  in  the  caves  of  the  earth, 
when  the  earth  itself  is  shaken;  there  will  be  no 
shelter  then  but  in  God,  and  in  things  above. 

II.  To  humble  and  abase  proud  sinners,  that  look 
big,  and  think  highly  of  themselves,  and  scornfully 
of  all  about  them;  ( v .  11.)  The  lofty  looks  of  man 
shall  be  humbled;  the  eyes  that  aim  high,  the  coun¬ 
tenance  in  which  the  pride  of  the  heart  shows  itself, 
these  shall  be  cast  down  in  shame  and  despair. 
And  the  haughtiness  of  men  shall  be  bowed  down, 
their  spirits  shall  be  broken,  and  they  shall  be 
crest-fallen,  and  those  things  which  they  were 
proud  of  the)-  shall  be  ashamed  of.  It  is  repeated 
again,  (v.  17.)  The  loftiness  of  man  shall  be  bowed 
down.  Note,  Pride  will,  one  way  or  other,  have  a 
fall.  Men’s  haughtiness  will  be  brought  down, 
either  by  the  grace  of  God  convincing  them  of  the 
evil  of  their  pride,  and  clothing  them  with  humility, 
or  by  the  providence  of  God  depriving  them  of  all . 
those  things  they  were  proud  of,  and  laying  them 
low.  Our  Saviour  often  laid  it  down  for  a  maxim, 
that  he  who  exalts  himself  shall  be  abased;  he  shall 
either  abase  himself  in  true  repentance,  or  God  will 
abase  him,  and  pour  contempt  upon  him.  Now 
here  we  are  told, 

1.  Why  this  shall  be  done;  because  the  Lord  alone 
will  be  exalted.  Note,  Therefore  proud  men  shall 
be  vilified,  because  the  Lord  alone  will  be  magnified. 
It  is  for  the  honour  of  God’s  power  to  humble  the 
proud;  by  this  he  proves  himself  to  be  God,  and 
disproves  Job’s  pretensions  to  rival  with  him;  (Job 
xl.  11* •  14.)  Behold  every  one  that  is  proud,  and. 
abase  him;  then  will  I  also  confess  unto  thee.  It  is 
likewise  for  the  honour  of  his  justice;  proud  men 
stand  in  competition  with  God,  who  is  jealous  for  his 
own  glory,  and  will  not  suffer  men  either  to  take 
that  to  themselves,  or  give  it  to  another,  which  is 
due  to  him  only ;  they  likewise  stand  in  opposition 
to  God,  they  resist  him,  and  therefore  he  resists 
them;  for  he  will  be  exalted  among  the  heathen, 
Ps.  xlvi.  10.  And  there  is  a  day  coming  in  which 
he  alone  will  be  exalted,  when  he  shall  have  put 
down  all  opposing  rule,  principality,  and  power,  1 
Cor.  xv.  24. 

2.  How  this  shall  be  done;  by  humbling  judg¬ 
ments,  that  shall  mortify  men,  and  bring  them 
down;  ( v .  12.)  The  day  of  the  Lord  of  hosts,  the 
dav  of  his  wrath  and  judgment,  shall  be  upon  every 
one  that  is  proud;  and  therefore  he  now  laughs  at 
their  insolence,  because  he  sees  that  his  day  is  com¬ 
ing;  this  dav,  which  will  be  upon  them  ere  they  are 
aware,  Ps.  xxxvii.  13.  This  day  of  the  Lord  is 
here  said  to  be  upon  all  the  cedars  of  Lebanon,  that 
are  high  and  lifted  up.  Jerom  observes  that  the 
cedars  are  said  to  praise  God,  (Ps.  cxlviii.  9.)  and 
are  trees  of  the  Lord,  (Ps.  civ.  16.)  of  his  planting; 
(Isa.  xli.  19.)  and  yet  here  God’s  wrath  fastens  up¬ 
on  the  cedars,  which  denotes  (says  he)  that  some  of 
every  rank  of  men,  some  great  men,  will  be  saved, 
and  some  perish.  It  is  brought  in  as  an  instance  of 
the  strength  of  God’s  voice,  that  it  breaks  the  cedars; 
(Ps.  xxix.  5.)  and  here  the  day  of  the  Lord  is  said 
to  be  upon  the  cedars,  those  of  Lebanon,  that  were 
the  straightest  and  stateliest;  upon  the  oaks,  those 
of  Bashan,  that  were  the  strongest  and  sturdiest; 
and  (r>.  14.)  upon  the  natural  elevations  and  for¬ 
tresses,  the  high  mountains,  and  the  hills  that  arc 
lifted  up,  that  overtop  the  valleys,  and  seem  tt 


< 20 


ISAIAH,  II. 


push  the  skies;  and  ( v .  15.)  upon  the  artificial  fast¬ 
nesses,  every  high  tower,  and  every  fenced  wall. 
Understand  these, 

( 1. )  As  representing  the  proud  people  themselves, 
that  are  like  the  cedars  and  the  oaks,  in  their  own 
apprehensions  firmly  rooted,  and  not  to  be  stirred 
by  any  storm,  and  looking  on  all  around  them  as 
shrubs;  these  are  the  high  mountains  and  the  lofty 
hills,  that  seem  to  fill  the  earth,  that  are  gazed  on 
by  all,  and  think  themselves  immoveable,  but  lie 
most  obnoxious  to  God’s  thunderstrokes;  Feriunt- 
que  summos  fulmina  monies — The  highest  hills  are 
most  exfiosed  to  lightning.  And  before  the  power 
of  God’s  wrath  these  mountains  are  scattered,  and 
these  hills  bow  and  melt  like  wax,  Hab.  iii.  6.  Ps. 
lxviii.  8.  These  vaunting  men,  who  are  as  high 
towers  in  which  the  noisy  bells  are  hung,  on  which 
the  thundering  murdering  cannon  are  planted,  these 
fenced  walls,  that  fortify  themselves  with  their  na¬ 
tive  hardiness,  and  intrench  themselves  in  their  fast¬ 
nesses,  they  shall  be  brought  down. 

(2.)  As  particularizing  the  things  they  are  proud 
of,  in  which  they  trust,  and  of  which  they  make 
their  boasts.  The  day  of  the  Lord  shall  be  upon 
those  very  things  which  they  put  their  confidence  in 
as  their  strength  and  security;  he  will  take  from 
them  all  their  armour  wherein  they  trusted.  Did 
the  inhabitants  of  Lebanon  glory  in  their  cedars, 
and  those  of  Bashan  in  their  oaks,  such  as  no  coun¬ 
try  could  equal?  The  day  of  the  Lord  should  rend 
those  cedars,  those  oaks,  and  the  houses  built  of 
them.  Did  Jerusalem  glory  in  the  mountains  that 
were  round  about  it,  as  its  impregnable  fortifica¬ 
tions,  or  in  its  walls  and  bulwarks?  These  should 
be  levelled,  and  laid  low  in  the  day  of  the  Lord. 

Beside  those  things  that  were  for  their  strength 
and  safety,  they  were  proud,  [1.]  Of  their  trade 
abroad;  but  the  day  of  the  Lord  shall  be  upon  all 
the  ships  of  Tarshish,  they  shall  be  broken  as  Je- 
hoshaph  it’s  were,  shall  founder  at  sea,  or  be  ship¬ 
wrecked  in  the  harbour.  Zebulun  was  a  haven  of 
ships,  but  should  now  no  more  rejoice  in  his  going 
out.  When  God  is  bringing  ruin  upon  a  people,  he 
sinks  all  the  branches  of  their  revenue.  [2.  ]  Of 
their  ornaments  at  home;  but  the  day  of  the  Lord 
shall  be  upon  all  pleasant  pictures,  the  painting  of 
their  ships,  (so  some  understand  it,)  or  the  curious 
pieces  of  painting  they  brought  home  in  their  ships 
from  other  countries,  perhaps  from  Greece,  which 
afterward  was  famous  for  painters.  Upon  every 
thing  that  is  beautiful  to  behold,  so  some  read  it. 
Perhaps  they  were  the  pictures  of  their  relations, 
and,  for  that  reason,  pleasant,  or  of  their  gods, 
which  to  the  idolaters  were  delectable  things;  or 
they  admired  them  for  the  fineness  of  their  colours 
or  strokes.  There  is  no  harm  in  making  pictures, 
or  in  adorning  our  rooms  with  them,  provided  they 
transgress  not  either  the  second  or  the  seventh  com¬ 
mandment.  But  to  place  our  pictures  among  our 
pleasant  things,  to  be  fond  of  them  and  proud  of 
them,  to  spend  that  upon  them  that  should  be  laid 
out  in  charity,  and  to  set  our  hearts  upon  them,  as 
it  ill  becomes  those  who  have  so  many  substantial 
things  to  take  pleasure  in,  so  it  provokes  God  to 
strip  us  all  of  such  vain  ornaments. 

III.  To  make  idolaters  ashamed  of  their  idols, 
and  of  all  the  affection  they  have  had  for  them,  and 
the  respect  they  have  paid  to  them;  ( v .  18.)  The 
idols  he  shall  utterly  abolish.  When  the  Lord  alone 
shall  be  exalted,  ( v .  17. )  he  will  not  only  pour  con¬ 
tempt  upon  proud  men,  who,  like  Pharaoh,  exalt 
themselves  against  him,  but  much  more  upon  all 
pretended  deities,  who  are  rivals  with  him  for  di¬ 
vine  honours;  they  shall  be  abolished,  utterly  abol¬ 
ished;  their  friends  shall  desert  them,  their  enemies 
shall  destroy  them,  so  that,  one  way  or  other,  an 
utter  riddance  shall  be  made  of  them.  See  here,  1. 


The  vanity  of  false  gods;  they  cannot  secure  them 
selves,  so  far  are  they  from  being  able  to  secure 
their  worshippers.  2.  The  victory  of  the  true  Gcd 
over  them;  for  great  is  the  truth,  and  will  prevail. 
Dagon  fell  before  the  ark,  and  Baal  before  the  Lord 
God  of  Elijah.  The  gods  of  the  heathen  shall  be 
famished,  (Zeph.  ii.  11.)  and  by  degrees  shall  pe¬ 
rish,  Jer.  x.  11.  The  rightful  Sovereign  shall  tri¬ 
umph  over  all  pretenders. 

And  as  God  will  abolish  idols,  so  their  worship¬ 
pers  shall  abandon  them;  either  from  a  gracious 
conviction  of  their  vanity  and  falsehood,  (as  Ephraim, 
when  he  said.  What  have  I  to  do  any  more  with 
idols?)  or  from  a  late  and  sad  experience  of  their 
inability  to  help  them,  and  a  woful  despair  of  relief 
by  them,  v.  20.  When  men  are  themselves  fright¬ 
ened  by  the  judgments  of  God  into  the  holes  of  the 
rocks  and  the  caves  of  the  earth,  and  find  that  they 
do  thus  in  vain  shift  for  their  own  safety,  they  shall 
cast  their  idols,  which  they  had  made  their  gods, 
and  hoped  to  make  their  friends  in  the  time  of  need, 
to  the  moles  and  to  the  bats,  any  whither  out  cf 
sight,  that,  being  freed  from  the  incumbrance  of 
them,  they  may  go  into  the  clefts  of  the  rocks,  for 
fear  of  the  Lord,  v.  21.  Note,  (1.)  Those  that 
will  not  be  reasoned  out  of  their  sins,  sooner  or  later 
shall  be  frightened  out  of  them.  (2. )  God  can  make 
men  sicx  of  those  idols  that  they  have  been  most 
fond  of;  even  the  idols  of  silver,  and  the  idols  of  geld, 
the  most  precious.  Covetous  men  make  silver  and 
gold  their  idols,  money  their  god;  but  the  time  may 
come  when  they  may  feel  it  as  much  their  burthen 
as  ever  they  made  it  their  confidence,  and  may  find 
themselves  as  much  exposed  by  it  as  ever  they  hop¬ 
ed  they  should  be  guarded  by  it,  when  it  tempts 
their  enemy,  sinks  their  ship,  or  retards  their  flight; 
there  was  a  time  when  the  mariners  threw  the 
wares,  and  even  the  wheat,  into  the  sea;  (Jonah  i. 
5.  Actsxxvii.  38.)  and  the  Syrians  cast  away  their 
garments  for  haste,  2  Kings  vii.  15.  Or  men  may 
cast  it  away  out  of  indignation  at  themselves  for 
leaning  upon  such  a  broken  reed.  See  Ezek.  vii. 
19.  The  idolaters  here  throw  away  their  idols, 
because  they  are  ashamed  of  them,  and  of  their  own 
folly  in  trusting  to  them;  or  because  they  are  afraid 
of  having  them  found  in  their  possession  when  the 
judgments  of  God  are  abroad;  as  the  thief  throws 
away  his  stolen  goods,  when  he  is  searched  for  or 
pursued.  (3.)  The  darkest  holes,  where  the  moles 
and  the  bats  lodge,  are  the  fittest  places  for  idols, 
that  have  eyes,  and  see  not;  and  God  can  force  men 
to  cast  their  own  idols  there,  ( ch .  xxx.  22.)  when 
they  are  ashamed  if  the  oaks  which  they  have  de¬ 
sired,  ch.  i.  29.  Moab  shall  be  ashamed  of  Che- 
mosh,  as  the  house  of  Israel  was  ashamed  of  Beth-el, 
Jer.  xlviii.  13.  (4.)  It  is  possible  that  sin  may  be 

both  loathed  and  left,  and  yet  not  truly  repented  of; 
loathed,  because  surfeited  on;  left,  because  there  is 
no  opportunity  of  committing  it;  yet  not  repented 
of  out  of  any  love  to  God,  but  only  from  a  slavish 
fear  of  his  wrath. 

IV.  T o  make  those  that  have  trusted  in  an  arm 
of  flesh,  ashamed  of  their  confidence;  (v.  22.) 
“  Cease  ye  from  man.  The  providences  of  God  con¬ 
cerning  you  shall  speak  this  aloud  to  you,  and  there 
fore  take  warning  beforehand,  that  you  may  pre¬ 
vent  the  uneasiness  and  shame  of  a  disappointment; 
and  consider,”  1.  How  weak  man  is;  His  breath  is 
in  his  nostrils,  puffed  out  every  moment,  soon  gone 
for  good  and  all.  Man  is  a  dying  creature,  and  may 
die  quickly;  our  nostrils,  in  which  our  breath  is, 
are  of  the  outward  parts  of  the  body;  what  is  there 
is  like  one  standing  at  the  door,  ready  to  depart, 
nay,  the  doors  of  the  nostrils  are  always  open,  the 
breath  in  them  may  slip  away,  ere  we  are  aware, 
in  a  moment.  Wherein  is  man  then  to  be  account 
ed  of?  Alas,  no  reckoning  is  to  be  made  of  him. 


27 


ISAIAH,  III. 


for  lie  is  not  what  he  seems  to  be,  what  he  pretends 
to  be,  what  we  fancy  him  to  be.  Man  is  like  to 
vanity,  nay,  he  is  vanity,  he  is  altogether  vanity,  he 
is  less,  he  is  lighter,  than  vanity,  when  weighed  in 
the  balance  of  the  sanctuary.  2.  How  wise  there¬ 
fore  they  are  that  cease  from  man;  it  is  our  duty, 
it  is  our  interest,  to  do  so.  “  Put  not  your  trust  in 
man,  nor  make  even  the  greatest  and  mightiest  of 
men  your  confidence;  cease  to  do  so.  Let  not  your 
eye  be  to  the  power  of  man,  for  it  is  finite  and  limit¬ 
ed,  derived  and  depending;  it  is  not  from  him  that 
vour  judgment  proceeds:  let  not  him  be  your  fear, 
let  not  him  be  your  hope;  but  look  up  to  the  power 
of  God,  to  which  all  the  powers  of  men  are  subject 
and  subordinate;  dread  his  wrath,  secure  his  favour, 
take  him  for  your  Help,  and  let  your  ho/. le  be  in  the 
Lord  your  God.” 

CHAP.  III. 

The  prophet,  in  this  chapter,  goes  on  to  foretell  the  desola¬ 
tions  that  were  coming  upon  Judah  and  Jerusalem  for 
their  sins,  both  that  by  the  Babylonians,  and  that  which 
completed  their  ruin  by  the  Romans;  with  some  of  the 
grounds  of  God’s  controversy  with  them.  God  threatens, 
1.  To  deprive  them  of  all  the  supports,  both  of  their  life 
and  of  their  government,  v.  1 . .  3.  II.  To  leave  them  to 
fall  into  confusion  and  disorder,  v.  4,  5,  12.  III.  To 
deny  them  the  blessings  of  magistracy,  v.  6  .  .  8.  IV.  To 
strip  the  daughters  of  Zion  of  their  ornaments,  v.  1 7  .  .  24. 
V.  To  lay  all  waste  by  the  sword  of  war,  v.  25,  26.  The 
sins  that  provoked  God  to  deal  thus  with  them,  were, 
1.  Their  defiance  of  God,  v.  8.  2.  Their  impudence,  v. 
9.  3.  The  abuse  of  power  to  oppression  and  tyranny,  v. 
13 .  .  15.  The  pride  of  the  daughters  of  Zion,  v.  16.  In 
the  midst  of  the  chapter,  the  prophet  is  directed  how  to 
apply  himself  to  particular  persons.  (1.)  To  assure  good 
people  that  it  should  be  well  with  them,  notwithstanding 
those  general  calamities,  v.  10.  (2.)  To  assure  wicked 
people  that,  however  God  might,  in  judgment,  remember 
mercy,  yet  it  should  go  ill  with  them,  v.  11.  O  that  the 
nations  of  the  earth,  at  this  day,  would  hearken  to  the 
rebukes  and  warnings  which  this  chapter  gives ! 

I.  ~B7'OR,  behold,  the  Lord,  the  Lord 
JC  of  hosts,  doth  take  away  from  Jeru¬ 
salem,  and  from  Judah,  the  stay  and  the 
staff,  the  whole  stay  of  bread,  and  the  whole 
stay  of  water.  2.  The  mighty  man,  and  the 
man  of  war,  the  judge,  and  the  prophet, and 
the  prudent,  and  the  ancient,  3.  The  cap¬ 
tain  of  fifty,  and  the  honourable  man,  and 
the  counsellor,  and  the  cunning  artificer, 
and  the  eloquent  orator.  4.  And  I  will 
give  children  to  be  their  princes,  and  babes 
shall  rule  over  them.  5.  And  the  people 
shall  be  oppressed,  every  one  by  another, 
and  every  one  by  his  neighbour:  the  child 
shall  behave  himself  proudly  against  the  an¬ 
cient,  and  the  base  against  the  honourable. 
6.  When  a  man  shall  take  hold  of  his  bro¬ 
ther,  of  the  house  of  his  father,  saying,  Thou 
hast  clothing,  be  thou  our  ruler,  and  let  this 
ruin  be  under  thy  hand:  7.  In  that  day 
shall  he  swear, saying, I  will  not  be  a  healer: 
for  in  my  house  is  neither  bread  nor  cloth¬ 
ing:  make  me  not  a  ruler  of  the  people. 
3.  For  Jerusalem  is  ruined,  and  Judah  is 
fallen ;  because  their  tongue  and  their  do¬ 
ings  are  against  the  Lord,  to  provoke  the 
eyes  of  his  glory. 

t  he  prophet,  in  the  clr  se  of  the  foregoing  chap¬ 
ter,  h  id  given  a  necessary  caution  to  all,  net  to  put 


confidence  in  man,  or  any  creature;  he  had  also 
given  a  general  reason  for  that  caution,  taken  from 
the  frailty  of  human  life,  and  the  vanity  and  weak¬ 
ness  of  human  powers:  here  he  gives  a  particular 
reason  for  it — God  was  now  about  to  ruin  all  their 
creature-confidences,  so  that  they  should  meet  with 
nothing  but  disappointments  in  all  their  expecta¬ 
tions  from  them,  v.  1.  The  stay  and  the  stun  shall 
be  taken  away;  all  their  supports,  of  what  kind  so¬ 
ever,  all  the  things  they  trusted  to,  and  looked  for 
help  and  relief  from.  Their  church  and  kingdom 
were  grown  old,  and  going  to  decay,  and  they  were 
(after  the  manner  of  aged  men,  Zech.  viii.  4.)  lean¬ 
ing  on  a  staff;  now  God  threatens  to  take  away 
their  staff,  and  then  they  must  fall  of  course;  to 
take  away  the  stays  both  of  the  city  and  of  the 
country,  of  Jerusalem  and  of  Judah,  which  are  in¬ 
deed  stays  to  one  another,  and  if  one  fail,  the  other 
feels  from  it. 

He  that  does  this,  is  the  Lord,  the  Lord  of  hosts; 
Adon,  the  Lord  that  is  himself  the  Stay  or  Founda¬ 
tion;  if  that  Stay  depart,  all  other  stays  certainly 
break  under  us,  for  he  is  the  Strength  of  them  all. 
He  that  is  the  Lord,  the  Ruler,  that  has  authority 
to  do  it,  and  the  Lord  of  hosts,  that  has  ability  to 
do  it,  he  shall  take  away  the  stay  and  the  staff.  St. 
Jerom  refers  this  to  the  sensible  decay  of  the  Jew¬ 
ish  nation,  after  they  had  crucified  our  Savieur, 
Rom.  xi.  9,  10.  I  rather  take  it  as  a  warning  to 
all  nations  not  to  provoke  God:  for  if  they  make 
him  their  Enemy,  he  can,  and  will,  thus  make  them 
miserable.  Let  us  view  the  particulars: 

I.  Was  their  plenty  a  support  to  them?  It  is  so 
to  any  people;  bread  is  the  staff  of  life:  but  God 
can  take  away  the  whole  stay  of  bread,  and  the 
whole  stay  of  water;  and  it  is  just  with  him  to  do  so, 
when  fulness  of  bread  becomes  an  iniquity,  (Ezek. 
xvi.  49.)  and  that  which  was  given  to  be  provision 
for  the  life,  is  made  provision  for  the  lusts.  He  can 
take  away  the  bread  and  the  water,  by  withholding 
the  rain,  Deut.  xxviii.  23,  24.  Or,  if  he  allow  them, 
he  can  take  away  the  stay  of  bread  and  the  stay 
of  water,  by  withholding  this  blessing,  by  which  man 
lives,  and  not  by  bread  only,  and  which  is  the  staff  of 
bread;  (Matt.  iv.  4.)  and  then  the  bread  is  not  nour¬ 
ishing,  the  water  not  refreshing,  Hag.  i.  6.  Christ 
is  the  bread  of  life  and  the  water  of  life;  if  he  be 
our  Stay,  we  shall  find  that  a  good  part  not  to  be 
taken  away,  John  vi.  27.  ch.  iv.  14. 

II.  Was  their  army  a  support  to  them — their 
generals  and  commanders,  and  military  men? 
These  shall  be  taken  away:  either  cut  erf  by  the 
sword,  or  so  discouraged  with  the  defeats  they  meet 
with,  that  they  shall  throw  up  their  commissions, 
and  resolve  to  act  no  more;  or  they  shall  be  disabled 
by  sickness,  or  dispirited,  so  as  to  be  unfit  for  busi¬ 
ness;  the  mighty  man,  and  the  man  of  war,  and 
even  the  inferior  officer,  the  captain  of  fifty,  shall 
be  removed.  It  bodes  ill  with  a  people  when  their 
valour  is  lost,  and  their  valiant  men.  Let  not  the 
strong  man  therefore  glory  in  his  strength,  nor  any 
people  trust  too  much  to  their  mighty  men;  but  let 
the  strong  people  glorify  God,  and  the  city  of  the 
terrible  nations  fear  him,  who  can  make  them  weak 
and  despicable,  ch.  xxv.  3. 

III.  W  ere  their  ministers  of  state  a  support  to 
them — their  learned  men,  theirpoliticians,  their  cler- 
gy,  their  wits  and  virtuosos?  These  also  should  be 
taken  away;  the  judges,  who  were  skilled  in  the  laws, 
and  expert  in  administering  justice,  and  the  pro¬ 
phets,  whom  they  used  to  consult  in  difficult  cases, 
the  prudent,  who  were  celebrated  as  men  of  sense 
and  sagacity  above  others,  and  were  assistants  to  tli 
judges;  the  diviners,  (so  the  word  is,)  those  wh  • 
used  unlawful  arts,  who,  though  rotten  stays,  yei 
were  stayed  on;  but  it  may  be  taken,  as  we  iear 
it,  in  a  good  sense;  the  ancients,  elders  in  ag> ,  ii 


28 


ISAIAH,  III. 


office,  the  honourable  man,  the  gravity  of  whose 
aspect  commands  reverence,  and  whose  age  and 
experience  make  him  fit  to  be  a  counsellor.  Trade 
is  one  great  support  to  a  nation,  even  manufactures 
and  handicraft  trades;  and  therefore  when  the  old 
stay  is  to  be  broken,  the  cunning  artificer  too  shall 
be  taken  away;  and  the  last  is  the  eloquent  orator, 
the  man  skilful  of  speech,  who  in  some  cases  may 
do  good  service,  though  he  be  none  of  the  prudent 
or  the  ancient,  by  putting  the  sense  of  others  in  good 
language;  Moses  cannot  speak  well,  but  Aaron  can. 
God  threatens  to  take  these  away,  1.  To  disable 
them  for  the  service  of  their  country;  making  the 
judges  fools,  taking  away  the  sfieech  of  the  trusty, 
and  the  understanding  of  the  aged.  Job  xii.  17,  8cc. 
Every  creature  is  that  to  us,  that  God  makes  it  to 
be ;  and  we  cannot  be  sure  that  those  who  have  been 
serviceable  to  us,  shall  always  be  so.  2.  To  put  an 
end  to  their  days;  for  princes  are  therefore  not  to  be 
trusted  in,  because  their  breath  goeth  forth,  Ps. 
cxlvi.  3,  4.  Note,  The  removal  of  useful  men  by 
death,  in  the  midst  of  their  usefulness,  is  a  very 
threatening  symptom  to  any  people. 

IV.  Was  their  government  a  support  to  them? 
It  ought  to  be  so,  it  is  the  business  of  the  sovereign 
to  bear  up  the  pillars  of  the  land,  Ps.  lxxv.  3.  But 
it  is  here  threatened  that  this  stay  should  fail  them. 
When  the  mighty  men  and  the  prudent  are  remov¬ 
ed,  Children  shall  be  their  princes;  children  in  age, 
who  must  be  under  tutors  and  governors,  who  will 
be  clashing  with  one  another,  and  making  a  prey  of 
the  young  king  and  his  kingdom;  children  in  under¬ 
standing  and  disposition,  childish  men,  such  as  are 
babes  in  knowledge,  no  more  fit  to  rule  than  a  child 
in  the  cradle,  these  shall  rule  over  them,  with  all  the 
folly,  fickleness,  and  frowardness,  of  a  child.  And, 
reo  unto  thee,  O  land,  when  thy  king  is  such  a  one! 
Ecc.l.  x.  16. 

V.  Was  the  union  of  the  subjects  among  them¬ 
selves,  their  good  order,  and  the  good  understanding 
and  correspondence  that  they  kept  with  one  an¬ 
other,  a  stay  to  them?  Where  this  is,  a  people  may 
do  better,  though  their  princes  be  not  such  as  they 
should  be ;  but  it  is  here  threatened  that  God  would 
send  an  evil  spirit  among  them  too,  (as  Judg.  ix. 
23.)  which  would  make  them,  1.  Injuriousandun- 
neighbnurly  one  towards  another;  {v.  5.)  The  peo¬ 
ple  shall  be  oppressed  every  one  by  his  neighbour; 
and  their  princes  being  children,  take  no  care  to 
restrain  the  oppressors,  or  relieve  the  oppressed; 
nor  is  it  to  any  purpose  to  appeal  to  them,  (which 
is  a  temptation  to  every  man  to  be  his  own  avenger;) 
and  then  they  bite  and  devour  one  another,  and  will 
soon  lie  consumed  one  of  another.  Then  Homo  ho- 
mmi  lupus — Man  becomes  a  wolf  to  man.  Jusquc  da¬ 
tum  sceleri —  Wickedness  receives  the  stamp  of  law. 
jYec  hospesab  hospite  tutus — The  guest  and  the  host 
are  in  danger  from  each  other.  2.  Insolent  and  dis¬ 
orderly  towards  their  superiors.  It  is  as  ill  an 
omen  to  a  people  as  can  be,  when  the  rising  genera¬ 
tion  among  them  are  generally  untractable,  rude, 
and  ungovernable,  when  the  child  behaves  himself 
proudly  against  the  ancient;  whereas  he  should 
rise  up  before  the  hoary  head,  and  honour  the  face 
oj  theold  man,  Lev.  xix.  32.  When  young  people 
are  conceited  and  pert,  and  carry  it  scornfully  to¬ 
ward  their  superiors,  it  is  not  only  a  reproach  to 
themselves,  but  of  ill  consequence  to  the  public;  it 
slackens  the  reins  of  government,  and  weakens  the 
hands  that  hold  them.  It  is  likewise  ill  with  a  peo¬ 
ple  when  persons  of  honour  cannot  support  their 
authority,  but  are  affronted  by  the  base  and  beg¬ 
garly;  when  judges  are  insulted  by  the  mob,  and 
their  powers  set  at  defiance.  Those  have  a  great 
deni  to  answer  for,  who  do  this. 

VI.  Is  it  some  stay,  some  support,  to  hope  that, 
though  matters  mat'  be  now  ill  managed,  yet  others 


!  maybe  raised  up,  who  may  manage  better?  Yet  this 
expectation  also  shall  be  frustrated,  for  the  case 
shall  be  so  desperate,  that  no  man  of  sense  or  sub¬ 
stance  will  meddle  with  it. 

1.  The  government  shall  go  a  begging,  v.  5. 
Here,  (1. )  It  is  taken  for  granted  that  there  is  no 
way  of  redressing  all  these  grievances,  and  bringing 
things  into  order  again,  but  by  good  magistrates, 
who  shall  be  invested  with  power  by  common  con¬ 
sent,  and  shall  exert  that  power  for  the  good  cf  the 
community.  And  it  is  probable  that  this  was,  in 
many  places,  the  true  origin  of  government;  men 
found  it  necessary  to  unite  in  a  subjection  to  one 
who  was  thought  fit  for  such  a  trust,  in  order  to  the 
welfare  and  safety  of  them  all;  being  aware  that 
they  must  either  be  ruled  or  ruined.  Here  there¬ 
fore  is  the  original  contract;  “  Be  thou  our  ruler, 
and  we  will  be  subject  to  thee,  and  let  this  ruin  be 
under  thy  hand,  to  be  repaired  and  restored,  and 
then  to  be  preserved  and  established,  and  the  inter¬ 
ests  of  it  advanced,  ch.  lviii.  12.  Take  care  to  pro¬ 
tect  us  by  the  sword  of  war  from  being  injured  from 
abroad,  and  by  the  sword  of  justice  from  being  in¬ 
jurious  one  to  another,  and  we  will  bear  faith  and  true 
allegiance  to  thee.  ”  (2. )  The  case  is  represented  as 
very  deplorable,  and  things  were  come  to  a  sad  pass; 
for,  [1.]  Children  being  their  princes,  every  man 
will  think  himself  fit  to  prescribe  who  shall  be  a  ma¬ 
gistrate,  and  will  be  for  preferring  his  own  relations; 
whereas,  if  the  princes  were  as  they  should  be,  it 
would  be  left  entirely  to  them  to  nominate  the  rulers, 
as  it  ought  to  be.  [2.]  Men  will  find  themselves  un¬ 
der  a  necessity  even  of  forcing  power  into  the  hands 
of  those  that  are  thought  to  be  fit  for  it;  a  man  shall 
take  hold  by  violence  of  one  to  make  him  a  ruler, 
perceiving  him  ready  to  resist  the  motion;  nay,  he 
shall  urge  it  upon  his  brother;  whereas  commonly, 
men  are  not  willing  that  their  equals  should  be  their 
superiors;  witness  the  envy  of  Joseph’s  brethren. 
[3.]  It  will  be  looked  upon  as  ground  sufficient  for 
the  preferring  of  a  man  to  be  a  ruler,  that  he  has 
clothing  better  than  his  neighbours;  a  very  poor 
qualification  to  recommend  a  man  to  a  place  of  trust 
in  the  government:  it  was  a  sign  that  the  country 
was  much  impoverished,  when  it  was  a  rare  thing 
to  find  a  man  that  had  good  clothes,  or  that  could 
afford  to  buy  himself  an  alderman’s  gown,  or  a 
judge’s  robe;  and  that  the  people  were  very  un¬ 
thinking,  when  they  had  so  much  respect  to  a  man 
in  gay  clothing,  with  a  gold  ring,  (Jam.  ii.  2,  3.)  that, 
for  the  sake  thereof,  they  would  make  him  their 
ruler.  It  had  been  some  sense  to  have  said,  “  Thcu 
hast  wisdom,  integrity,  experience;  be  thou  cur 
ruler;”  but  it  was  a  jest  to  say,  Thou  hast  clothing; 
be  thou  our  ruler.  A  poor  wise  man,  though  in 
vile  raiment,  delivered  a  city,  Eccl.  ix.  15.  We 
may  allude  to  this,  to  show  how  desperate  the  case 
of  fallen  man  was,  when  our  Lord  Jesus  was  pleas 
ed  to  become  our  Brother,  and,  though  he  was  not 
courted,  offered  himself  to  be  ourRulerand  Saviour, 
and  to  take  this  ruin  under  his  hand. 

2.  Those  who  are  thus  pressed  to  come  into  office, 
will  swear  themselves  off,  because,  though  they  are 
taken  to  be  men  of  some  substance,  yet  they  know 
themselves  unable  to  bear  the  charges  of  the  r  ffice, 
and  to  answer  the  expectations  of  those  that  choose 
them,  v.  7.  He  shall  swear,  (shall  lift  up  the  hand, 
the  ancient  ceremony  used  in  taking  an  oath,)  I  will 
not  be  a  healer,  make  not  me  a  ruler.  Note,  Rulers 
must  be  healers,  and  good  rulers  will  be  so;  they 
must  study  to  unite  their  subjects,  and  not  widen 
the  differences  that  are  among  them;  those  only  are 
fit  for  government,  that  are  of  a  meek,  quiet,  heal¬ 
ing  spirit:  they  must  also  heal  the  wounds  that  are 
given  to  any  of  the  interests  of  their  people,  by  suit 
able  applications.  But  why  will  he  not  be  a  ruler? 
Because  in  my  house  is  neither  bread  nor  clothing. 


29 


ISAIAH,  III. 


(1.)  If  he  said  true,  it  was  a  sign  that  men’s  estates 
were  sadly  ruined,  when  even  those  who  made  the 
best  appearance,  really  wanted  necessaries;  a  com¬ 
mon  case,  and  a  piteous  one;  some,  who,  having 
lived  fashionably,  are  willing  to  put  the  best  side 
outward,  are  yet,  if  the  truth  were  known,  in  great 
straits,  and  go  with  heavy  hearts,  for  want  of  bread 
and  clothing.  (2.)  If  lie'didnot  speak  truth,  it  was 
a  sign  that  men’s  consciences  were  sadly  debauched, 
when,  to  avoid  the  expense  of  an  office,  they  would 
load  themselves  with  the  guilt  of  perjury,  and 
(which  is  the  greatest  madness  in  the  world)'  would 
damn  their  souls  to  save  their  money.  Mutth.  xvi. 
26.  (3.)  However  it  was,  it  was  a  sign  that  the  case 
of  the  nation  was  very  bad,  when  nobody  was  willing 
to  accept  a  place  in  the  government  of  it,  as  despair¬ 
ing  to  hav  e  either  credit  or  profit  by  it,  which  are 
tlte  two  things  aimed  at  in  men’s  common  ambition 
of  preform  out. 

3.  The  reason  why  God  brought  things  to  this 
sad  pass,  even  among  his  own  people;  (which  is 
giv  en  either  by  the  prophet,  or  by  him  that  refused 
to  be  a  ruler;)  it  was  not  for  want' of  good  will  to  his 
country,  but  because  he  saw  the  case  desperate, 
and  past  relief,  and  it  would  be  to  no  purpose  to 
att  nipt  it;  (n.  8.)  Jerusalem  is  ruined,  and  Judah 
is  fallen;  and  they  may  thank  themselves,  they  have 
brought  their  destruction  upon  their  own  heads,  for 
their  tongue  and  their  doings  are  against  the 
Lord;  in  word  and  action  they  brake  the  law  of 
God,  and  therein  designed  an  affront  to  him ;  they 
wilfully  intended  to  offend  him,  in  contempt  of  his  au¬ 
thority,  and  defiance  of  his  justice:  their  tongue  was 
against  the  Lord,  for  they  contradicted  his  prophets; 
and  their  doings  were  no  better,  they  acted  as  they 
talked;  it  was  an  aggravation  of  their  sin,  that  God’s 
eye  was  upon  them,  and  that  his  glory  was  mani¬ 
fested  among  them;  but  they  provoked  him  to  his 
face,  as  if  the  more  they  knew  of  his  glory,  the 
greater  pride  they  took  in  slighting  it,  and  turning 
'it  into  shame.  And  this,  this  is  it,  for  which  Jerusa¬ 
lem  is  ruined.  Note,  the  ruin  both  of  persons  and 
people  is  owing  to  their  sins.  If  they  did  not  pro¬ 
voke  God,  he  would  do  them  no  hurt,  Jer.  xxv.  6. 

9.  The  show  of  their  countenance  doth 
witness  against  them,  and  they  declare  their 
sin  as  Sodom,  they  hide  it  not:  Wo  unto 
their  soul  !  For  they  have  rewarded  evil 
unto  themselves.  10.  Say  ye  to  the  righte¬ 
ous,  that  it  shrill  be  well  with  him ;  for  they 
shall  eat  the  fruit  of  their  doings.  11. 
Wo  unto  the  wicked  !  Tt  shall  be  ill  with 
him ;  for  the  reward  of  his  hands  shall  be 
given  him.  12.  As  far  my  people,  children  are 
their  oppressors,  and  women  rule  over  them. 
O  my  people,  they  which  lead  thee  cause 
thee  to  err,  and  destroy  the  way  of  thy  paths. 
1 3.  The  Loan  standeth  up  to  plead,  and 
standeth  to  judge  the  people.  14.  The 
Loan  will  enter  into  judgment  with  the 
ancients  of  his  people,  and  the  princes 
thereof :  for  ye  have  eaten  up  the  vineyard ; 
the  spoil  of  the  poor  is  in  your  houses.  1 5. 
What  mean  ye  that  ye  beat  my  people  to 
pieces,  and  grind  the  faces  of  the  poor  ? 
saith  the  Lord  God  of  hosts. 

Hers  God  proceeds  in  his  controversy  with  his 
p  '  pie.  Observe, 

I.  The  ground  of  his  controversy;  it  was  for  sin 


that  God  contended  with  them;  if  they  vex  then; 
selves,  let  them  look  a  little  further,  and  they  will 
see  that  they  must  thank themselves;  IVo  unto 
their  souls  !  For  they  have  rewarded  evil  unto  them¬ 
selves.  jilas  for  their  souls  !  (so  it  may  be  read, 
in  a  way  of  lamentation,)  for  they  have  f irocured 
evil  to  themselves,  v.  9.  Note,  1.  The  condition 
of  sinners  is  woful  and  very  deplorable.  2.  It  is 
the  soul  that  is  damaged  and  endangered  by  sin. 
Sinners  may  prosper  in  their  outward  estates,  and 
yet  at  the  same  time  there  may  be  a  wo  to  their 
souls.  3.  Whatever  evil  befalls  sinners,  it  is  of  their 
own  procuring,  Jer.  ii.  19. 

That  which  is  here  charged  upon  them,  is, 

(1.)  That  the  shame  which  should  restrain  them 
from  their  sins,  was  quite  thrown  off,  and  they  were 
grown  impudent,  v.  9.  This  hardens  men  against 
repentance,  and  ripens  them  for  ruin,  as  much  as 
any  thing;  The  show  of  their  countenance  doth  witness 
against  them,  that  their  minds  are  vain,  and  lewd, 
and  malicious;  their  eyes  speak  it  plain,  that  thev 
cannot  cease  from  sin,  2  Pet.  ii.  14.  One  may  look 
them  in  the  face,  and  guess  at  the  desperate  wick¬ 
edness  that  there  is  in  their  hearts;  They  declare 
their  sin  as  Sodom;  so  impetuous,  so  imperious,  are 
their  lusts,  and  so  impatient  of  the  least  check;  ;  nd 
so  perfectly  are  all  the  remaining  sparks  of  virtue 
extinguished  in  them.  The  Sodcmites  declared 
their  sin,  not  onlv  by  the  exceeding  greatness  of  it, 
(Gen.xiii.  13.)  so  that  it  cried  to  heaven,  (Gen. 
xviii.  20.)  but  by  their  shameless  owning  of  that 
which  was  most  shameful;  (Gen.  xix.  5.)  and  thus 
Judah  and  Jerusalem  did:  they  were  so  far  from 
hiding  it,  that  they  gloried  in  it,  in  the  bold  attempt 
they  made  upon  virtue,  and  the  victory  they  gained 
over  their  own  convictions:  they  had  a  whore’s 
forehead,  (Jer.  iii.  3.)  and  could  not  blush,  (Jer.  vi. 
15.)  Note,  Those  that  are  grown  impudent  in  sin, 
arc  ripe  for  ruin ;  they  that  are  past  shame,  (we  sav,) 
are  past  grace,  and  then  past  hope. 

(2.)  That  their  guides,  who  should  direct  them 
in  the  right  way,  put  them  out  of  the  way,  v.  12. 
“They  who  lead,  (the  princes,  priests,  and  pro¬ 
phets,)  mislead  thee,  they  cause  thee  to  err.”  Ei¬ 
ther  they  preached  to  them  that  which  was  false  and 
corrupt,  or  if  they  preached  that  which  was  true 
and  good,  they  contradicted  it  by  their  practices; 
and  the  people  would  sooner  follow  a  bad  example 
than  a  good  exhortation:  thus  they  destroyed  the 
way  of  their  paths,  pulling  down  with  one  hand 
what  thev  built  up  with  the  other.  Qui  te  beati- 
ficant — They  that  call  thee  blessed,  cause  thee  to 
err;  so  some  read  it.  Their  priests  applauded 
them,  as  if  nothing  was  amiss  among  them;  cried, 
Peace,  peace,  to  them,  as  if  they  were  in  no  dan¬ 
ger;  and  thus  they  caused  them  to  go  on  in  their 
errors. 

(3.)  That  their  judges  who  should  have  patron¬ 
ized  and  protected  the  oppressed,  were  themselves 
the  greatest  oppressors,  v.  14,  15.  The  elders  of 
the  people,  and  the  princes,  who  had  learning,  and 
could  not  but  know  better  things,  who  had  great 
estates,  and  were  not  under  the  temptation  of  neces¬ 
sity  to  encroach  upon  those  about  them,  and  who 
were  men  of  honour,  and  should  scorn  to  do  a  base 
thing,  yet  they  have  eaten  up  the  vineyard.  God’s 
vineyard,  which  they  were  appointed  to  be  the 
dressers  and  keepers  of,  they  burnt;  so  the  word 
signifies;  they  did  as  ill  bv  it  as  its  worst  enemies 
could  do,  Ps.'  lxxx.  16.  Or  the  vineyards  of  the 
poor;  thev  wrested  them  out  of  their  possession,  ?' 
Jezebel  did  Naboth’s;  or  devoured  the  fruits  of 
them,  fed  their  lusts  with  that  which  should  have 
been  the  necessary  food  of  indigent  families;  the 
spoil  of  the  poor  was  hoarded  up  in  their  houses; 
when  God  came  to  search  for  stolen  goods,  their 
he  found  it,  and  it  wras  a  witness  against  them.  P 


30 


ISAIAH,  III. 


was  to  ne  had,  and  they  might  have  made  restitu¬ 
tion,  but  would  not.  God  reasons  with  those  great 
men;  (to  15.)  “  What  mean  you,  that  ye  oeat  my 
/ leofile  in  pieces?  What  cause  have  you  for  it  ? 
What  good  does  it  do  you  ?”  Or,  “  What  hurt  have 
they  done  you  ?  Do  you  think  you  have  power  given 
you  for  such  a  purpose  as  this  ?”  Note,  There  is 
nothing  more  unaccountable,  and  yet  nothing  which 
must  more  certainly  be  accounted  for,  than  the  in- 
luries  and  abuses  that  are  done  to  God’s  people  by 
their  persecutors  and  oppressors;  “  Ye  grind  the 
face  of  the  poor;  ye  put  them  into  as  much  pain 
and  terror  as  if  they  were  ground  in  a  mill,  and  as 
certainly  reduce  them  to  dust  by  one  act  of  oppres¬ 
sion  after  another.  Or,  “  Their  faces  are  bruised 
and  crushed  with  the  blows  you  have  given  them; 
you  have  not  only  ruined  their  estates,  but  given 
them  personal  abuses.”  Our  Lord  Jesus  was  smit¬ 
ten  on  the  face,  Matt.  xxvi.  67. 

II.  The  management  of  this  controversy;  1.  God 

himself  is  the  Prosecutor;  (x\  13.)  The  Lord 
stands  up  to  plead,  or  he  sets  himself  to  debate  the 
matter,  and  he  stands  to  judge  the  people,  to  judge 
for  those  that  were  oppressed  and  abused;  and  he 
will  enter  into  judgment  with  the  princes,  v.  14. 
Note,  The  greatest  men  cannot  exempt  or  secure 
themselves  from  the  scrutiny  and  sentence  of  God’s 
judgment,  nor  demur  to  the  jurisdiction  of  the  court 
of  heaven.  2.  The  indictment  is  proved  by  the 
notorious  evidence  of  the  fact;  “Look  upon  the 
oppressors,  and  the  show  of  their  countenance 
witnesses  against  them;  (y.  9.)  look  upon  the  op¬ 
pressed,  and  you  see  how  their  faces  are  battered 
and  abused,”  v.  15.  3.  The  controversy  is  already 

begun,  in  the  change  of  the  ministry;  to  punish 
those  that  had  abused  their  power  to  bad  purposes, 
God  sets  those  over  them,  that  had  not  sense  to  use 
it  to  any  good  purpose;  Children  are  their  oppres¬ 
sors,  and  women  rule  over  them,  (y.  12.)  men  that 
have  as  weak  judgments,  and  strong  passions,  as 
women  and  children:  this  was  their  sin,  that  their 
rulers  were  such,  and  it  became  a  judgment  upon 
them. 

III.  The  distinction  that  shall  be  made  between 
particular  persons,  in  the  prosecution  of  this  con¬ 
troversy;  ( v .  10,  11.)  Say  to  the  righteous.  It  shall 
be  well  with  thee.  Wo  to  the  wicked,  it  shall  be  ill 
with  him.  He  had  said,  (u.  9.)  they  have  reward¬ 
ed  evil  to  themselves;  and  to  prove  that,  he  here 
shows  that  God  will  render  to  every  man  accord¬ 
ing  to  his  works.  Had  they  been  righteous,  it 
had  been  well  with  them;  but  if  it  be  ill  with  them, 
it  is  because  they  are  wicked,  and  will  be  so.  Thus 
God  stated  the  matter  to  Cain,  to  convince  him 
that  he  had  no  reason  to  be  angry,  Gen.  iv.  7.  Or 
it  may  be  taken  thus;  God  is  threatening  national 
judgments,  which  will  ruin  the  public  interests. 
Now,  1.  Some  good  people  might  fear  that  they 
should  be  involved  in  that  ruin,  and  therefore  God 
bids  the  prophets  comfort  them  against  those  fears; 
“  Whatever  becomes  of  the  unrighteous  nation,  say 
ye  to  the  righteous  man,  that  ye  shall  not  be  lost  in 
the  crowd  of  sinners,  the  Judge  of  all  the  earth 
will  not  slay  the  righteous  with  the  wicked;  (Gen. 
xviii.  25.)  no,  assure  him  in  God’s  name,  that  if 
shall  be  well  with  him.  The  property  of  the  trouble 
shall  be  altered  to  him,  and  he  shall  be  hid  in  the 
dan  of  the  Lord’s  anger.  He  shall  have  divine 
supports  and  comforts,  which  shall  abound  as  afflic¬ 
tions  abound,  and  so  it  shall  be  well  with  him.” 
When  the  whole  stay  of  bread  is  taken  away,  yet 
in  the  day  of  famine  they  shall  be  satisfied ,  they 
shall  eat  the  fruit,  of  their  doings;  they  shall  have 
th  e  t  estimony  of  their  consciences  for  them,  that  they 
k'  pt  themselves  pure  from  the  common  iniquity, 
an  I  therefore  the  common  calamity  is  not  the  same 
thing  to  them  that  it  is  to  otners;  they  brought  no 


fuel  to  the  flame,  and  therefore  are  not  themselves 
fuel  for  it.  2.  Some  wicked  people  might  hope 
that  they  should  escape  that  ruin,  and  therefore 
God  bids  the  prophets  shake  their  vain  hopes; 
“  Wo  to  the  wicked,  it  shall  be  ill  with  him-,  (y. 
11.)  to  him  the  judgments  shall  have  a  sting,  and 
there  shall  be  wormwood  and  gall  in  the  affliction 
and  misery.”  There  is  a  wo  to  wicked  people, 
and  though  they  may  think  to  shelter  themselves 
from  public  judgment,  yet  it  shall  be  ill  with  them; 
it  will  grow  worse  and  worse  with  them  if  they  re¬ 
pent  not,  and  the  worst  of  all  will  be  at  last;  for  the 
reward  of  his  hands  shall  be  done  to  him,  in  the  day 
when  every  man  shall  receive  according  to  the 
things  done  in  the  body. 

16.  Moreover,  the  Lord  saith,  Because 
the  daughters  of  Zion  are  haughty,  and 
walked  with  stretched-forth  necks  and  wan¬ 
ton  eyes,  walking,  and  mincing  as  they  go, 
and  making  a  tinkling  with  their  feet :  1 7. 
Therefore  the  Lord  will  smite  with  a  scab 
the  crown  of  the  head  of  the  daughters  of 
Zion,  and  the  Lord  will  discover  their 
secret  parts.  18.  In  that  day  the  Lord 
will  take  away  the  bravery  of  their 
tinkling  ornaments  about  their  feet ,  and 
their  cauls,  and  their  round  tires  like  the 
moon,  19.  The  chains,  and  the  brace¬ 
lets,  and  the  mufflers,  20.  The  bonnets, 
and  the  ornaments  of  the  legs,  and  the 
head-bands,  and  the  tablets,  and  the  ear¬ 
rings,  21.  The  rings,  and  nose-jewels,  22. 
The  changeable  suits  of  apparel,  and  the 
mantles,  and  the  wimples,  and  the  crisping- 
pins,  23.  The  glasses,  and  the  fine  linen, 
and  the  hoods,  and  the  vails.  24.  And  it 
shall  come  to  pass,  that  instead  of  sweet 
smell,  there  shall  be  stink  ;  and  instead  of  a 
girdle,  a  rent ;  and  instead  of  well-set  hair, 
baldness;  and  instead  of  a  stomacher,  a 
girding  of  sackcloth!  and  burning  instead  of 
beauty.  25.  Thy  men  shall  fall  by  the 
sword,  and  thy  mighty  in  the  war.  26. 
And  her  gates  shall  lament  and  mourn  : 
and  she,  being  desolate,  shall  sit  upon  the 
ground. 

The  prophet’s  business  was  to  show  all  sorts  of 
people  what  they  had  contributed  to  the  national 
guilt,  and  what  share  they  must  expect  in  the  na¬ 
tional  judgments  that  were  coming;  here  he  re¬ 
proves  and  warns  the  daughters  of  Zicn,  tells  the 
ladies  of  their  faults;  and  Moses,  in  the  law,  having 
denounced  God’s  wrath  against  the  tender  and  deli¬ 
cate  woman,  (the  prophets  being  a  comment  upon 
the  law,  Dent,  xxviii.  56.)  he  here  tells  them  how 
they  should  sm:  •  rt  by  the  calamities  that  were  coming 
upon  them.  Observe, 

1.  The  sin  charged  upon  the  daughters  of  Zion, 
v.  16.  The  prophet  expressly  vouches  God’s  au¬ 
thority  for  what  he  said,  lest  it  should  be  thought 
it  was  unbecoming  him  to  take  notice  of  such  things, 
and  should  be  ill-resented  by  the  ladies;  The  Lord 
saith  it.  Whether  they  will  hear,  or  whether  they 
will  forbear,  let  them  know  that  God  takes  notice 
of,  and  is  much  displeased  with,  the  folly  and  vanity 
of  proud  we  men,  and  his  law  takes  cognizance 


ISAIAH,  III. 


SI 


even  of  their  dress.  T wo  things  they  here  stand 
nciicted  for,  haughtiness  and  wantonness;  directly 
contrary  to  that  modesty,  shamefacedness,  and  so¬ 
briety,  with  which  women  ought  to  adorn  them¬ 
selves,  1.  Tim.  ii.  9.  They  discovered  the  disposi¬ 
tion  of  their  mind  by  their  gait  and  gesture,  and  the 
lightness  of  their  carriage.  They  are  haughty,  for 
they  walked  with  stretched-forth  necks,  that  they  may 
seem  tall,  or,  as  thinking  nobody  good  enough  to 
speak  to  them,  or,  to  receive  a  look  ora  smile; 
their  eyes  are  wanton;  receiving,  so  the  word  is; 
with  their  amorous  glances  thev  draw  men  into 
their  snares;  they  affect  a  formal  starched  way  of 
going,  that  people  may  look  at  them,  and  admire 
them,  and  know  they  have  been  at  the  dancing- 
school,  and  have  learned  the  minuet-step;  they  go 
mincing,  or  nicely  tripping,  not  willing  to  set  so 
much  as  the  sole  of  their  foot  to  the  ground,  for 
tenderness  and  delicacy;  they  make  a  tinklingwith 
their  feet,  having,  as  some  think,  chains,  or  little 
bells,  upon  their  shoes,  that  made  a  noise;  they  go 
as  if  they  were  fettered;  so  some  read  it;  like  a  horse 
trammelled,  that  he  may  learn  to  pace.  Thus 
Agag  came  delicately,  1  Sam.  xv.  32.  Such  a  nice 
affected  mien  is  not  only  a  force  upon  that  which  is 
natural,  and  ridiculous  before  men,  men  of  sens  ; 
but  as  it  is  an  evidence  of  a  vain  mind,  it  is  offensive 
to  God.  And  two  things  aggravated  it  here,  (1.) 
That  these  were  the  daughters  of  Zion  the  holy 
mountain,  who  should  have  behaved  with  the  gravity 
that  becomes  women  professing  godliness.  (2.) 
That  it  should  seem,  by  the  connexion,  they  were 
the  wives  and  daughters  of  the  princes  who  spoil¬ 
ed  and  oppressed  the  poor,  ( v .  14,  15.)  that  they 
might  maintain  this  pride  and  luxury  of  their  fa¬ 
milies. 

2.  The  punishments  threatened  for  this  sin;  and 
they  answer  the  sin,  as  face  answers  to  face  in  a 
glass,  x'.  17,  18. 

(1.)  They  walked  with  stretched-forth  necks,  but 
God  will  smite  with  a  scab  the  crown  of  their  head, 
which  shall  lower  their  crests,  and  make  them 
ashamed  to  show  their  heads,  being  obliged  by  it  to 
cut  off  their  hair.  Note,  Loathsome  diseases  are 
often  sent  as  the  just  punishment  of  pride,  and  are 
sometimes  the  immediate  effect  of  lewdness,  the 
flesh  and  the  body  being  consumed  by  it. 

(2.)  They  cared  not  what  they  laid  out  in  fur¬ 
nishing  themselves  with  great  variety  of  fine  clothes; 
but  God  will  reduce  them  to  such  poverty  and  dis¬ 
tress,  that  they  should  not  have  clothes  sufficient  to 
cover  their  nakedness,  but  their  uncomeliness  should 
be  exposed  through  their  rags. 

(3. )  They  were  extremely  fond  and  proud  of  their 
ornaments;  but  God  will  strip  them  of  those  orna¬ 
ments,  when  their  houses  should  be  plundered, 
their  treasures  rifled,  and  they  themselves  led  into 
captivity.  The  prophet  here  specifies  many  of  the 
ornaments  which  they  used,  as  particularly  as  if  he 
had  been  the  keeper  of  their  wardrobe,  or  had  at¬ 
tended  them  in  their  dressing-room.  It  is  not  at 
all  material  to  inquire  what  sort  of  ornaments  these 
respectively  were,  and  whether  the  translations 
rightly  express  the  original  words;  perhaps  a  hun¬ 
dred  years  hence  the  names  of  some  of  the  orna¬ 
ments  that  are  now  in  use  in  our  land  will  be  as  lit¬ 
tle  understood  as  some  of  those  here  are.  Fashions 
alter,  and  so  do  the  names  of  them ;  and  yet  the  1 
mention  of  them  is  not  in  vain,  but  is  designed  to 
expose  the  folly  of  the  daughters  of  Zion;  for,  (1.) 
Many  of  these  things,  we  may  suppose,  were  very 
odd  and  ridiculous,  and  if  they  had  not  been  in 
fashion,  would  have  been  hooted  at.  They  were 
fitter  to  be  toys  for  children  to  play  with,  than  oma- 
nv-nts  for  grown  people  to  go  to  mount  Zion  in. 
(2.)  Those  things  that  were  decent  and  convenient, 
as  the  linen,  hoods,  and  the  veils,  needed  not  to 


have  been  provided  in  such  abundance  and  va¬ 
riety.  It  is  necessary  to  have  apparel,  and  that 
all  should  have  it  according  to  their  rank;  be*  what 
occasion  was  there  for  so  many  changeable  suits 
:  of  apparel,  (x>.  22.)  that  they  might  not  be  seen 
two  days  together  in  the  same  suit?  “They  must 
have  (as  the  homily  against  excess  of  apparel 
speaks)  one  gown  for  the  day,  another  for  the 
night;  one  long,  another  short;  one  for  the  working- 
day,  another  for  the  holy-day;  ancther  of  this  co¬ 
lour,  another  of  that  colour;  one  of  cloth,  another 
of  silk  or  damask;  one  dress  afore  dinner,  another 
after;  one  of  the  Spanish  fashion,  another  Turkey, 
and  never  content  with  sufficient.”  Which,  as  it  is 
an  evidence  of  pride  and  vain  curiosity,  so  must 
needs  spend  a  great  deal,  in  gratifying  a  base  lust, 
that  ought  to  be  laid  out  in  works  of  piety  and  cha¬ 
rity;  and  it  is  well  if  poor  tenants  be  not  racked,  or 
poor  creditors  defrauded,  to  support  it.  (3.)  The 
enumeration  of  these  things  intimates  what  care 
they  were  in  about  them,  how  much  their  hearts 
were  upon  them,  what  an  exact  account  they  kept 
of  them,  how  nice  and  critical  they  were  about 
them,  how  insatiable  their  desire  was  of  them, 
and  how  much  of  their  comfort  was  bound  up  in 
them.  A  maid  could  forget  none  of  these  orna¬ 
ments,  though  they  were  ever  so  many,  (Jer.  ii. 
32.)  but  would  report  them  as  readily,  and  talk  of 
them  with  as  much  pleasure,  as  if  they  had  been 
things  of  the  greatest  moment.  The  prophet  does 
not  speak  of  these  things  as  in  themselves  sinful; 
they  may  lawfully  be  had  and  used,  but  as  things 
which  they  were  proud  of,  and  should  therefore  be 
deprived  of. 

4.  They  were  verv  nice  and  curious  about  their 
clothes;  but  God  would  make  those  bodies  of  theirs 
which  they  were  at  such  expense  to  beautify  and 
make  easy,  a  reproach  and  burthen  to  them;  (x'. 
24. )  Instead  of  sweet  smell  (those  tablets,  or  boxes 
of  perfume,  houses  of  the  soul  or  breath,  as  they  are 
called,  x>.  20.  margin)  there  shall  be  stink,  garments 
grown  filthy,  with  being  long  worn,  or  from  some 
loathsome  disease,  or  plasters  for  the  cure  of  it;  in¬ 
stead  of  a  rich  embroidered  girdle,  used  to  make  the 
clothes  sit  tight,  there  shall  be  a  rent,  a  rending  of 
the  clothes  for  grief,  or  old  rotten  clothes  rent  into 
rags;  instead  of  well-set  hair,  curiously  plaited  and 
powdered,  there  shall  be  baldness,  the  hair  being 
plucked  off  or  shaven,  as  was  usual  in  times  of  great 
affliction,  ( ch .  xv.  2.  Jer.  xvi.  6.)  or  in  great  servi¬ 
tude,  Ezek.  xxix.  18.  Instead  of  a  stomacher,  or  a 
scarf,  or  sash,  a  girding  of  sackcloth,  in  token  of 
deep  humiliation;  and  burning  instead  of  beauty. 
Those  that  had  a  good  complexion,  and  were  proud 
of  it,  when  they  are  carried  into  captivitv,  shall  be 
tanned  and  sun-burnt;  and  it  is  observed,  that  the 
best  faces  are  soonest  injured  by  the  weather.  F rom 
all  this  let  us  learn,  (1.)  Not  to  be  nice  and  curious 
about  our  apparel,  nor  to  affect  that  which  is  gay 
and  costly,  or  to  be  proud  of  it.  (2.)  Not  to  be  se¬ 
cure  in  the  enjoyment  of  any  of  the  delights  of  sense, 
because  we  know  not  how  soon  we  may  be  stripped 
of  them,  nor  what  straits  we  may  be  reduced  to. 

5.  They  designed  by  these  ornaments  to  charm 
the  gentlemen,  and  win  their  affections,  (Prov.  vii. 
16,  1~. )  but  th'  re  shall  be  none  to  be  cnarmed  by 
them;  (xe  25.)  Thy  men  shall  fall  by  the  sword, 
and  thy  mighty  in  the  war.  The  fire  shall  consume 
them ,  and  then  the  maidens  shall  not  be  given  in 
marriage;  as  it  is,  Ps.  lxxviii.  63.  When  the  sword 
comes  with  commission,  the  mighty  commonly  fall 
first  by  it,  because  they  are  most  forward  to  ven¬ 
ture.  And  when  Zion’s  guards  are  cut  off,  no  mar¬ 
vel  that  Zion’s  gates  lament  and  mourn,  (x>.  26.)  the 
enemies  having  made  themselves  masters  of  them, 
and  the  city  itself,  being  desolate,  being  emptied  or 
swept,  shall  sit  upon  the  ground,  like  a  disconsolate 


32 


ISAIAH,  IV. 


widow.  If  sin  be  harboured  within  the  walls,  la¬ 
mentation  and  mourning  are  near  her  gates. 

CHAP.  IV. 

In  this  chapter,  we  have,  1.  A  threatening  or  the  paucity 
and  scarceness  of  men,  (v.  I.)  which  might  fitly  enough 
have  been  added  to  the  close  of  the  foregoing  chapter,  to 
which  it  has  a  plain  reference.  11.  A  promise  of  the  res¬ 
toration  of  Jerusalem’s  peace  and  purity,  righteousness 
and  safety,  in  the  days  of  the  Messiah,  v.  2. .  6.  Thus, 
in  wrath,' mercy  is  remembered,  and  gospel  grace  is  a 
sovereign  relief,  in  reference  to  the  terrors  of  the  law, 
and  the  desolations  made  by  sin. 

1.  A  ND  in  that  day  seven  women  shall 
j\_  take  hold  of  one  man,  saying,  We 
will  eat  our  own  bread,  and  wear  our  own 
apparel :  only  let  us  be  called  by  thy  name, 
to  take  away  our  reproach. 

It  was  threatened  (ch.  iii.  25.)  that  the  mighty 
men  should  fall  by  the  sword  in  war;  and  it  was 
threatened  as  a  punishment  to  the  women  that  af¬ 
fected  gaiety,  and  a  loose  sort  of  conversation.  Now 
here  we  have  the  effect  and  consequence  of  that 
great  slaughter  of  men; 

1.  That,  though  Providence  has  so  wisely  ordered 
that,  communibus  annis — on  an  ax’erage  of  years, 
there  is  nearly  an  equal  number  of  males  and  fe¬ 
males  born  info  the  world,  vet  through  the  devasta¬ 
tions  made  by  war,  there  should  scarcely  be  one 
man  in  seven  left  alive.  As  there  are  deaths  at¬ 
tending  the  bringing  forth  of  children,  which  are 
peculiar  to  the  woman,  who  was  first  in  the  trans¬ 
gression,  so,  to  balance  that,  there  are  deaths  pecu¬ 
liar  to  men;  those  by  the  sword  in  the  high  places 
of  the  field,  which  perhaps  devour  more  than  child¬ 
bed  does.  Here  it  is  foretold,  that  such  multitudes 
of  men  should  be  cut  off,  that  there  should  be  seven 
women  to  one  man. 

2.  That,  by  reason  of  the  scarcity  of  men,  though 
marriage  should  be  kept  up,  for  the  raising  of  re¬ 
cruits,  and  the  preserving  of  the  race  of  mankind 
upon  earth,  yet  the  usual  method  of  it  should  be 
quite  altered;  that  whereas  men  ordinarily,  make 
their  court  to  the  women,  the  women  should  now 
take  hold  of  the  men,  foolishly  fearing  (as  Lot’s 
daughters  did,  when  they  saw  the  ruin  of  Sodom, 
and  perhaps  thought  it  reached  further  than  it  did) 
that  in  a  little  time  there  would  be  none  left;  (Gen. 
xix.  31.)  and  that,  whereas  women  naturally  hate 
to  come  in  sharers  with  others,  seven  should  now,  by 
consent,  become  the  wives  of  one  man;  and  that, 
whereas,  by  the  law,  the  husband  was  obliged  to 
provide  food  and  raiment  for  his  wife,  (Exod.  xxi. 
10.)  which  with  many  would  be  the  most  powerful 
argument  against  multiplying  wives,  these  women 
will  be  bound  to  find  themselves,  they  will  eat  bread 
of  their  own  earning,  and  wear  apparel  of  their 
oxen  working;  and  the  man  they  court  shall  be  at  no 
expense  with  them,  onlv  they  desire  to  be  called  his 
wives,  to  take  away  the  reproach  of  a  single  life. 
Thev  are  willing  to  be  wives  upon  any  terms,  though 
ever  so  unreasonable;  and  perhaps  the  rather,  be¬ 
cause  in  these  troublesome  times  it  would  be  a  kind¬ 
ness  to  them  to  have  a  husband  for  their  protector. 
St.  Paul,  on  the  contrary,  in  the  time  of  distress, 
thinks  the  single  state  preferable,  1  Cor.  vii.  26.  It 
were  well  if  this  were  not  introduced  here  partly  as 
a  reflection  upon  the  daughters  of  Zion,  that,  not¬ 
withstanding  the  humbling  providences  they  were 
under,  (eh.  iii.  18.)  they  remained  unhumbled,  and, 
instead  of  repenting  of  their  pride  and  vanity,  when 
God  was  contending  with  them  for  it,  all  their 
rare  was  to  get  them  nusbands — that  modesty, 
which  is  the  greatest  beauty  of  the  fair  sex,  was  for¬ 
gotten,  and  with  them  the  reproach  of  vice  was  no¬ 
thing  to  the  reproach  of  virginity ;  a  sad  symptom  of 
the  irrecoverable  desolations  of  virtue. 


2.  In  that  day  shall  the  Branch  of  the 
Lord  be  beautiful  and  glorious,  and  the 
fruit  of  the  earth  shall  be  excellent  and 
comely  for  them  that  are  escaped  of  Israel 
3.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass,  that  he  that  is 
left  in  Zion,  and  he  that  remaineth  in  Jeru¬ 
salem,  shall  be  called  holy,  even  every  one 
that  is  written  among  the  living  in  Jerusa¬ 
lem:  4.  When  the  Lord  shall  have  wash¬ 
ed  away  the  filth  of  the  daughters  of  Zion, 
and  shall  have  purged  the  blood  of  Jerusa 
lem  from  the  midst  thereof,  by  the  spirit  o) 
judgment,  and  by  the  spirit  of  burning.  .6 
,  And  the  Lord  will  create  upon  eveiy  dwel 
ling-place  of  mount  Zion,  and  upon  her  as 
semblies,  a  cloud  and  smoke  by  day,  and  the 
shining  of  a  flaming  fire  by  night :  for  upon  all 
the  glory  shall  be  a  defence.  6.  And  there 
shall  be  a  tabernacle  for  a  shadow  in  the  day¬ 
time  from  the  heat,  and  for  a  place  of  refuge, 
and  for  a  covert  from  storm  and  from  rain. 

Bv  the  foregoing  threatenings,  Jerusalem  is 
brought  into  a  very  deplorable  condition;  eveiy 
thing  looks  melancholy:  but  here  the  sun  breaks  out 
from  behind  the  cloud;  many  exceeding  great  and 
precious  promises  we  have  in  these  verses,  giving 
assurance  of  comfort  which  may  be  discerned 
through  the  troubles,  and  cf  happy  days  which 
shall  come  after  them.  And  these  certainly  point 
at  the  kingdom  of  the  Messiah,  and  the  great  re¬ 
demption  to  be  wrought  out  by  him,  under  the 
figure  and  type  of  the  restoration  of  Judah  and  Je¬ 
rusalem  by  the  reforming  reign  of  Hezekiah  after 
Ahaz,  and  the  return  out  of  their  captivity  in  Baby¬ 
lon;  to  both  which  it  may  have  some  reference,  but 
chiefly  to  Christ. 

It  is  here  promised,  as  the  issue  of  all  these 
troubles, 

I.  That  God  will  raise  up  a  righteous  Branch, 
which  should  produce  fruits  of  righteousness;  (v.  2.) 
In  that  day,  that,  same  day,  at  that  very  time,  when 
Jerusalem  shall  be  destroyed,  and  the  Jewish  nation 
extirpated  and  dispersed,  the  kingdom  of  the  Mes¬ 
siah  shall  be  set  up;  and  then  shall  be  the  reviving 
of  the  church,  when  every  one  shall  fear  the  utter 
ruin  of  it. 

1.  Christ  himself  shall  be  exalted;  lie  is  the 
!  Branch  of  the  Lord,  the  Man,  the  Branch:  it  is  one 
of  his  prophetical  names,  my  Servant,  the  Branch, 
(Zech.  iii.  8. — vi.  12.)  the  Branch  of  righteousness, 
(Jer.  xxiii.  5. — xxxiii.  15.)  a  Branch  out  of  the 
stem  of  Jesse;  ( ch .  xi.  1.)  and  that,  as  some  think, 
is  alluded  to  when  he  is  called  a  JVazarene,  Matth. 
ii.  23.  Here  he  is  called  the  Branch  of  the  Lord, 
because  planted  by  his  power,  and  flourishing  to  his 
praise.  The  ancient  Chaldee  Paraphrase  here  reads 
ft,  The  Christ,  or  Messiah  of  the  Lord.  He  shall 
be  the  Beauty,  and  Glory,  and  Joy.  (1.)  He  shall 
himself  be  advanced  to  the  joy  set  before  him,  and 
the  glory  which  lie  had  with  the  Father  before  ‘110 
world  was.  He  that  was  a  Reproach  of  men,  ..  nd 
whose  visage  was  marred  more  than  any  man’s,  is 
now,  in  the  upper  world,  beautiful  and  glorious,  as 
the  sun  in  his  strength,  admired  and  adored  by  an¬ 
gels.  (2. )  He  shall  be  beautiful  and  glorious  in  tin- 
esteem  of  all  believers,  shall  gain  an  interest  in  th- 
world,  and  a  name  among  men,  above  every  name. 
To  them  that  believe  he  is  precious,  he  is  an  Hu 
notir,  (1  Pet.  ii.  7.)  the  L'airest  of  ten  thousand, 
(Cant.  v.  10.)  and  altogether  glorious.  Let  us  re 
joice  that  he  is  so,  and  let  him  be  so  to  us. 


ISAlAH,  IV.  3 1 


2.  His  gospel  shall  be  embraced.  The  gospel  is 
the  fruit  of  the  Branch  of  the  Lord;  all  the  graces 
and  comiorts  i  f  the  gospel  spring  from  Christ.  But 
it  is  called  the  fruit  of  the  earth,  because  it  sprang 
up  in  tins  world,  and  was  calculated  for  the  present 
state.  And  Christ  compares  himself  to  a  corn  of 
•wheal,  that  falls  into  the  ground,  and  dies,  and  so 
brings  forth  much  fruit,  John  xii.  24.  The  success 
of  the  gospel  is  represented  by  the  earth's  yielding 
her  increase,  (Ps.  lxvii.  6.)  and  the  planting  of  the 
Christian  church  is  God’s  sowing  it  to  himself  in  the 
earth,  Hos.  ii.  23.  We  may  understand  it  of  both 
the  persons,  and  the  things,  that  are  the  products 
of  the  gospel;  they  shall  be  excellent  and  comely, 
shall  appear  very  agreeable,  and  be  very  acceptable 
to  them  that  are  escaped  of  Israel,  of  that  remnant 
of  the  Jews,  which  was  saved  from  perishing  with 
the  rest  in  unbelief,  Rom.  xi.  5.  Note,  If  Christ 
be  precious  to  us,  his  gospel  will  be  so,  and  all  its 
truths  and  promises;  his  church  will  be  so,  and  all 
that  belong  to  it.  These  are  the  good  fruit  of  the 
earth,  in  comparison  with  which,  all  other  things 
are  but  weeds.  It  will  be  a  good  evidence  to  us, 
that  we  are  of  the  chosen  remnant,  distinguished 
from  the  rest  that  are  called  Israel,  and  marked  for 
salvation,  if  we  are  brought  to  see  a  transcendent 
beauty  in  Christ  and  holiness,  and  the  saints,  the 
excellent  ones  of  the  earth.  As  a  type  of  this  blessed 
day,  Jerusalem,  after  Sennacherib's  invasion,  and 
after  the  captivity  in  Babylon,  should  again  flourish 
as  a  branch,  and  be  blessed  with  the  fruits  of  the 
earth:  compare  ch.  xxxvii.  31,  32.  The  remnant 
shall  again  take  root  downward,  and  bear  fruit  up¬ 
ward .  And  if  by  the  fruit  of  the  earth  here  we  un¬ 
derstand  the  good  things  of  this  life,  we  may  ob¬ 
serve,  that  those  have  peculiar  sweetness  in  them  to 
the  chosen  remnant,  who,  having  a  covenant-right 
to  them,  have  the  most  comfortable  use  of  them. 
If  the  Branch  of  the  Lord  be  beautiful  and  glorious 
in  our  eyes,  even  the  fruit  of  the  earth  also  will  be 
excellent  and  comely,  because  then  we  may  take  it 
as  the  fruit  of  the  promise,  Ps.  xxxvii.  16.  1  Tim. 
iv.  8. 

II.  That  God  will  reserve  to  himself  a  holy  seed; 
(x\  3.)  when  the  generality  of  those  that  have  a 

lace  and  a  name  in  Zion,  and  in  Jerusalem,  shall 

e  cut  off,  as  withered  branches,  by  their  own  unbe¬ 
lief,  yet  some  shall  be  left.  Some  shall  remain, 
some  shall  still  cleave  to  the  church,  when  its  pro¬ 
perty  is  altered,  and  it  is  become  Christian;  for  God 
will  not  quite  cast  off  his  people,  Rom.  xi.  1.  There 
is  here  and  there  one  that  is  left:  now,  1.  This  is  a 
remnant  according  to  the  election  of  grace,  (as  the 
apostle  speaks,  Itom.  xi.  5.)  such  as  are  written 
Among  the  living,  marked  in  the  counsel  and  fore¬ 
knowledge  of  God  for  life  and  salvation;  written  to 
life,  (so  the  word  is,)  designed  and  determined  for 
it  unalterably;  for  What  I  have  written,  I  have 
written.  Those  that  are  kept  alive  in  killing,  dying 
times,  were  written  for  life  in  the  book  of  Divine 
Providence:  and  shall  we  not  suppose  those  who  are 
rescued  from  a  greater  death,  to  be  such  as  were 
written  in  the  Lamb’s  book  of  life?  Rev.  xiii.  8.  As 
many  as  were  ordained  unto  eternal  life,  believed, 
to  the  salvation  of  the  soul.  Acts  xiii.  48.  Note,  All 
that  were  written  among  the  living,  shall  be  found 
among  the  living,  every  one;  for  of  all  that  were 
given  to  Christ,  he  shall  lose  none.  2.  It  is  a  rem¬ 
nant  tinder  the  dominion  of  grace;  for  every  one  that 
is  written  among  the  living,  and  is,  accordingly, 
left,  shall  be  called  holy,  shall  be  holy,  and  shall  be 
accepted  of  God  accordingly.  Those  only  that  are 
holy,  shall  be  left,  when  the  Son  of  man  shall  gather 
out  of  his  kingdom  every  thing  that  offends :  and  all 
that  are  chosen  to  salvation,  are  chosen  to  sanctifi¬ 
cation.  See  2  Thess.  ii.  13.  Eph.  i.  4. 

III.  That  God  will  reform  his  church,  and  will 
Vo  D  IV. — E 


rectify  and  amend  whatever  (s  i.miss  in  it,  v. 
Then  the  remnant  shall  be  called  holy,  when  the 
Lord  shall  have  washed  away  their  filth,  washed  it 
from  among  them  by  cutting  off  the  wicked  persons, 
washed  it  from  within  them  by  purging  cut  the 
wicked  thing.  They  shall  not  be  called  so,  till 
they  are  in  some  measure  made  so.  Gospel-times 
are  times  of  reformation,  (Heb.  ix.  10.)  typified  by 
the  reformation  in  the  days  of  Hezekiah,  and  tluit 
after  the  captivity,  to  which  this  promise  refers. 
Observe,  1.  The  places  and  persons  to  be  reformed. 
Jerusalem,  though  the  holy  city,  needed  reforma¬ 
tion:  and,  being  the  royal  city,  the  reformation  if 
that  would  have  a  good  influence  upon  the  whole- 
kingdom.  The  daughters  of  Zion  also  must  be  re¬ 
formed,  the  women  in  a  particular  manner,  whom 
he  had  reproved;  ch.  iii.  16.  When  they  were 
decked  in, their  ornaments,  they  thought  themselves 
wondrouselean;  but,  being  proud  of  them,  the  pro¬ 
phet  calls  them  theiryf ////,  tor  no  sin  is  more  abomi¬ 
nable  to  God  than  pride:  or  by  the  daughters  <f 
Zion  may  be  meant  the  country,  towns,  and  villages, 
which  were  related  to  Jerusalem,  asthe  mother-city, 
and  which  needed  reformation.  2.  The  reforma¬ 
tion  itself;  the  filth  shall  be  washed  away,  for  wick¬ 
edness  is  filthiness,  particularly  bloodshed,  for 
which  Jerusalem  was  infamous,  (2  Kings  xxi.  16.) 
and  which  defiles  the  land  more  than  any  other  sin. 
Note,  The  reforming  of  a  city  is  the  cleansing  cf  it; 
when  vicious  customs  and  fashions  are  suppressed, 
and  the  open  practice  of  wickedness  is  restraint  d, 
the  place  is  made  clean  and  sweet,  which  before 
was  a  dunghill;  and  this  is  not  only  for  its  credit  and 
reputation  among  strangers,  but  for  the  comfort  and 
health  of  the  inhabitants  themselves.  3.  The  Author 
of  the  reformation;  The  Lord  shall  do  it:  reforma¬ 
tion-work  is  God’s  work;  if  any  thing  be  done  to 
purpose  in  it,  it  is  his  doing.  But  how  ?  By  the  judg¬ 
ment  of  his  providence  the  sinners  were  destroyed 
and  consumed;  but  it  is  by  the  Spirit  of  his  grace 
that  they  are  reformed  and  converted.  This  is 
work  that  is  done,  not  by  might,  or  by  power,  but 
by  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  of  hosts,  (Zech.  iv.  6. ) 
working  both  upon  the  sinners  themselves  that  are 
to  be  reformed,  and  upon  magistrates,  ministers, 
and  others  that  are  to  be  employed  as  instruments 
of  reformation.  The  Spirit  herein  acts,  (1.)  Asa 
Spirit  of  judgment,  enlightening  the  mind,  convin¬ 
cing  the  conscience,  as  a  Spirit  of  wisdom,  guiding 
us  to  deal  prudently,  (Isa.  Iii.  13.)  as  a  discerning, 
distinguishing  Spirit,  separating  between  the  pre 
cious  and  the  vile.  (2.)  As  a  Spirit  of  burning, 
quickening  and  invigorating  the  affections,-  and 
making  men  zealously  affected  in  a  good  work.  The 
Spirit  works  as  fire,  Matth.  iii.  11.  An  ardent  love 
to  Christ  and  souls,  and  a  flaming  zeal  against  sin, 
will  carry  men  on  with  resolution  in  their  endea¬ 
vours  to  turn  away  ungodliness  from  Jacob.  See 
Isa.  xxxii.  IS,  16. 

IV.  That  God  will  protect  bis  church,  and  all 
that  belong  to  it:  (u.  5,  6.)  when  they  are  purified 
and  reformed,  they  shall  no  longer  lie  exposed,  but 
God  will  take  a  particular  care  of  them :  they  that 
are  sanctified  are  well  fortified,  for  God  will  be  to 
them  a  Guide  and  a  Guard. 

1.  Their  tabernacles  shall  be  defended,  v.  5.  (1.) 
Their  dwelling-places;  the  tabernacles  of  their  rest, 
their  own  houses,  where  they  worship  God,  alone, 
and  with  their  families.  That  blessing  which  is 
upon  the  habitation  of  the  just,  shall  be  a  protection 
to  it,  Prov.  iii.  33.  In  the  tabernacles  of  the  righ 
teous  shall  the  voice  of  rejoicing  and  salvation  be, 
Ps.  cxviii.  15.  Note,  God  takes  particular  ccg 
nizance  and  care  of  the  dwelling-places  of  his  peo¬ 
ple,  of  every  one  of  them,  the  poorest  cottage  as 
well  as  the  stateliest  palace.  When  iniquity  fiui 
far  from  the  tabernacle,  the  Almighty  shall  be  its 


ISAIAH.  V. 


34 

Defence,  Job  xxii.  23,  25.  (2.)  Their  assemblies 

or  tabernacles  of  meeting  for  religious  worship.  No 
■mention  is  made  of  the  temple,  for  the  promise 
points  at  a  time  when  not  one  stone  of  that  shall  be 
left  upon  another;  but  all  the  congregations  of  Chris¬ 
tians,  though  but  two  or  three  meet  together  in 
Christ’s  name,  shall  be  taken  under  the  special  pro¬ 
tection  of  Heaven;  they  shall  no  more  be  scattered, 
no  more  disturbed,  nor  shall  any  weapon  formed 
against  them  prosper.  Note,  \Ve  ought  to  reckon 
it  a  great  mercy,  if  we  have  liberty  to  worship  God 
in  public,  free  from  the  alarms  of  the  sword  of  war 
or  persecution. 

Now  this  writ  of  protection  is  drawn  up,  [1.]  In 
a  similitude  taken  from  the  safety  of  the  camp  of 
Israel,  w  hen  they  marched  through  the  wilderness. 
God  will  give  to  the  Christian  church  as  real  proofs, 
though  not  so  sensible  of  his  care  of  them,  ns  he  gave 
to  them  then.  The  Lord  will  again  create  a  cloud 
and  smoke  by  day,  to  screen  them  from  the  scorch¬ 
ing  heat  of  the  sun,  and  the  shining  of  a  flaming 
fire  by  night,  to  enlighten  and  warm  the  air,  which, 
in  the  night,  is  cold  and  dark.  See  Exod.  xiii.  21. 
Neh.  ix.  19.  This  pillar  of  cloud  and  fire  interposed 
between  the  Israelites  and  the  Egyptians,  Exod. 
xiv.  20.  Note,  Though  miracles  are  ceased,  yet 
God  is  the  same  to  the  Newr  Testament  church, 
that  he  was  to  Israel  of  old;  the  very  same  yester¬ 
day,  to-day,  and  for  ever.  [2.]  In  a  similitude 
taken  from  the  outside  cover  of  rams’  skins  and 
badgers’  skins,  that  was  upon  the  curtains  of  the  ta¬ 
bernacle,  as  if  every  dwelling-place  of  mount  Zion 
and  every  assembly  were  as  dear  to  God  as  that  ta¬ 
bernacle  was;  Upon  all  the  glory  shall  be  a  defence, 
to  save  it  from  wind  and  weather.  Note,  The 
church  on  earth  has  its  glory ;  gospel-truths  and  or¬ 
dinances,  the  scriptures  and  the  ministry,  are  the 
church’s  glory;  and  upon  all  this  glory  there  is  a  de¬ 
fence,  and  ever  shall  be,  for  the  gates  of  hell  shall 
not  prex’ail  against  the  church.  If  God  himself  be 
the  Glory  in  the  midst  of  it,  he  will  himself  be  a 
Wall  of  fire  round  about  it,  impenetrable,  and  im¬ 
pregnable.  Grace  in  the  soul  is  the  glory  of  it,  and 
those  that  have  it,  are  kept  by  the  power  of  God  as 
in  a  strong  hold,  1  Pet.  i.  5. 

2.  Their  tabernacle  shall  be  a  defence  to  them, 
v.  6.  God’s  tabernacle  was  a  pavilion  to  the  saints, 
Ps.  xxvii.  5.  But  when  that  is  taken  down,  they 
shall  not  wrant  a  covert:  the  divine  power  and  good¬ 
ness  shall  be  a  tabernacle  to  all  the  saints,  God  him¬ 
self  will  be  their  Hiding-place,  (Ps.  xxxii.  ".)  they 
shall  be  at  home  in  him,  Ps.  xci.  9.  He  will  him¬ 
self  be  to  them  as  the  shadow  of  a  great  rock,  ( ch . 
xxxii.  2.)  and  his  name  a  strong  tower,  Prov.  xviii. 
10.  He  will  be  not  only  a  Shadow  from  the  heat  in 
the  day-time,  but  a  Covert  from  storm  and  rain. 
Note,  In  this  world  we  must  expect  change  of 
weather,  and  all  the  inconveniences  that  attend  it; 
we  shall  meet  with  storm  and  rain  in  this  lower  re¬ 
gion,  and  at  other  times  the  heat  of  the  day,  no  less 
burthensome :  but  God  is  a  Refuge  to  his  people,  in 
all  weathers. 

CHAP.  V. 

In  this  chapter,  the  prophet,  in  God’s  name,  shows  the 
people  of  God  their  transgressions,  even  the  house  of 
Jacob  their  sins,  and  the  judgments  which  were  likely  to 
be  brought  upon  them  for  their  sins:  I.  By  a  parable, 
under  the  similitude  of  an  unfruitful  vineyard,  represent¬ 
ing  the  great  favours  God  had  bestowed  upon  them, 
their  disappointing  of  his  expectations  from  them,  ana 
the  ruin  they  had  thereby  deserved,  v.  1  .  .  7.  II.  By  an 
enumeration  of  the  sins  that  did  abound  among  them, 
with  a  threatening  of  punishments  that  should  answer  to 
the  sins:  1.  Covetousness,  and  greediness  of  worldly 
wealth,  which  shall  be  punished  with  famine,  v.  S.  .  10. 
2.  Rioting,  revelling,  and  drunkenness,  (v.  11,  12,  22.) 
which  shsHl  be  punished  with  captivitv  and  all  the  mise¬ 
ries  that  attend  it,  v.  13.  .  17.  3.  Presumption  in  sin, 


and  defying  the  justice  of  God,  v.  18,  19.  4.  Confound¬ 

ing  the  distinctions  between  virtue  and  vice,  and  so  un¬ 
dermining  the  principles  of  religion,  v.  20.  5.  Self- 

conceit,  v.  21.  6.  Perverting  justice;  for  which,  and  the 
other  instances  of  reigning  wickedness  among  them,  a 
great  and  general  desolation  is  threatened,  whicli  should 
lay  all  waste,  (v.  24,  25.)  and  which  should  be  effected 
by  a  foreign  invasion,  (v.  26  . .  30.)  referring  perhaps  to 
the  havoc  made  not  tong  after  by  Sennacherib’s  army. 

1.  OW  will  I  sing  to  my  well-beloved 
_L^  a  song  of  my  beloved  touching  his 
vineyard.  My  well-beloved  hath  a  vine¬ 
yard  in  a  very  fruitful  hill;  2.  And  he  fenced 
it,  and  gathered  out  the  stones  thereof,  and 
planted  it  with  the  choicest  vine,  and  built 
a  tower  in  the  midst  of  it,  and  also  made  a 
wine-press  therein:  and  he  looked  that  it 
should  bring  forth  grapes,  and  it  brought 
forth  wild  grapes.  3.  And  now,  O  inhabit¬ 
ants  of  Jerusalem,  and  men  of  Judah,  judge, 
I  pray  you,  betwixt  me  and  my  vineyard. 
4.  W  hat  could  have  been  done  more  to  my 
vineyard  that  I  have  not  done  in  it?  where¬ 
fore,  when  I  looked  that  it  should  bring  forth 
grapes,  brought  it  forth  wild  grapes  ?  5.  And 
now,  go  to;  I  will  tell  you  what  I  will  do  to 
my  vineyard :  I  will  take,  away  the  hedge 
thereof,  and  it  shall  be  eaten  up;  and  break 
down  the  wall  thereof,  and  it  shall  be  trod¬ 
den  down :  6.  And  I  will  lay  it  waste :  it 
shall  not  be  pruned  nor  digged ;  but  there 
shall  come  up  briers  and  thorns :  I  will  also 
command  the  clouds  that  they  rain  no  rain 
upon  it.  7.  For  the  vineyard  of  the  Lord 
of  hosts  is  the  house  of  Israel,  and  the  men 
of  Judah  liis  pleasant  plant:  and  he  looked 
for  judgment,  but  behold  oppression;  for 
!  righteousness,  but  behold  a  cry. 

See  what  variety  of  methods  the  great  God  takes 
to  awaken  sinners  to  repentance,  by  convincing 
them  of  sin,  and  showing  them  their  misery  and 
danger,  by  reason  of  it:  to  this  purport  he  speaks 
sometimes  in  plain  terms,  and  sometimes  in  para¬ 
bles,  sometimes  in  prose,  sometimes  in  verse,  as 
here;  “  VVe  have  tried  to  reason  with  you,  ( ch .  i. 
18.)  now  let  us  put  your  case  into  a  poem,  inscribed 
to  the  honour  ot  my  Well-beloved.  ’  God  the  Fa¬ 
ther  dictates  it  to  the  honour  of  Christ  his  well-be¬ 
loved  Son,  whom  he  has  constituted  Lord  of  the 
vineyard.  The  prophet  sings  it  to  the  honour  of 
Christ  too,  for  he  is  his  \\  ell-beloved.  1  he  Old 
Testament  prophets  were  friends  of  the  Bridegroom : 
Christ  is  God’s  beloved  Son,  and  our  beloved  Sa¬ 
viour:  whatever  is  said  or  sung  of  the  church,  must 
be  intended  to  his  praise,  even  that  which  (like  this) 
tends  to  our  shame.  This  parable  is  put  into  a  song, 
that  it  might  be  the  more  moving  and  affecting, 
might  be  the  more  easily  learned,  and  exactly  re 
membered,  and  the  better  transmitted  to  posterity; 
and  it  is  an  exposition  of  the  song  of  Moses,  (Deut. 

I  xxxii.)  showing,  that  what  he  then  foretold,  was 
I  now'  fulfilled.  Jerom  says,  Christ,  the  \\  ell-belov 
|  ed,  did,  in  effect,  sing  this  mournful  song,  when  he 
j  beheld  Jerusalem,  and  wept  over  it,  (Lvike  xix. 
41.)  and  had  reference  to  it  in  the  parable  ot  the 
vineyard;  (Matth.  xxi.  33.)  only  here  the  fault  was 
in  the  vines,  there  in  the  husbandmen.  Here  is, 

I.  The  great  things  which  Grd  had  done  for  the 
i  Jewish  church  and  nation:  when  all  the  rest  of  the 


35 


ISAIAH,  V. 


world  lay  in  common,  not  cultivated  by  divine  reve¬ 
lation,  tliat  was  his  vineyard,  they  were  his  pecu¬ 
liar  people;  he  owned  them,  set  them  apart  for  him¬ 
self;  the  soil  they  were  planted  in  was  extraordi¬ 
nary;  it  was  a  very  fruitful  hill,  the  horn  of  the  son 
of  oil;  so  it  is  in  the  margin.  There  was  plenty,  a 
cornucopia;  and  there  was  dainty,  they  did  there 
eat  the  fat,  and  drink  the  sweet,  and  so  were  fur¬ 
nished  with  abundance  of  good  things  to  honour 
God  with  in  sacrifices  and  free-will-offerings.  The 
advantages  of  our  situation  wi  1  be  brought  into  the 
account  another  day.  Observe  further,  what  God 
did  for  this  vineyard:  1.  He  fenced  it;  took  it  under 
his  special  protection,  kept  it  night  and  day  under 
his  own  eye,  lest  any  should  hurt  it,  ch.  xxvii.  2,  3. 
If  they  had  not  themselves  thrown  down  their  fence, 
no  inroad  could  have  been  made  upon  them,  Ps. 
cx;xv.  2. — cxxi.  4.  2.  He  gathered  the  stones  out 

of  it,  that,  as  nothing  from  without  might  damage  it, 
so  nothing  within  might  obstruct  its  fruitfulness.  He 
proffered  his  grace  to  take  away  the  stony  heart. 
3.  He  planted  it  with  the  choicest  vine,  set  up  a 
pure  religion  among  them,  gave  them  a  most  excel¬ 
lent  law,  instituted  ordinances  very  proper  for  the 
keeping  up  of  their  acquaintance  with  God,  Jer.  ii. 
21.  4.  He  built  a  tower  in  the  midst  of  it,  either 

for  defence  against  violence,  or  for  the  dressers  of 
the  vineyard  to  lodge  in;  or  rather,  for  the  Owner 
of  the  vineyard  to  sit  in,  to  take  a  view  of  the  vines, 
(Cant.  vii.  12.)  a  summer-house.  The  temple  ivas 
this  tower,  about  which  the  priests  lodged,  and 
where  God  promised  to  meet  his  people,  and  gave 
them  the  tokens  of  his  presence  among  them,  and 
pleasure  in  them.  5.  He  made  a  wine-press  there¬ 
in,  set  up  his  altar,  to  which  the  sacrifices,  as  the 
fruits  of  the  vineyard,  should  be  brought. 

II.  The  disappointment  of  his  just  expectations 

from  them;  He  looked  that  it  should  bring  forth 
gra/ies,  and  a  great  deal  of  reason  he  had  for  that 
expectation.  Note,  God  expects  vineyard-fruit 
from  those  that  enjoy  vineyard-privileges;  not  leaves 
only,  as  Mark  xi.  13.  A  bare  profession,  though 
ever  so  green,  will  not  serve:  there  must  be  more 
than  buds  and  blossoms;  good  purposes  and  good  be¬ 
ginnings  are  good  things,  but  not  enough,  there  must 
be  fruit;  a  good  heart  and  a  good  life;  vineyard-fruit; 
thoughts  and  affections,  words  and  actions,  agreea¬ 
ble  to  the  Spirit,  which  is  the  fatness  of  the  vine¬ 
yard,  (Gal.  v.  22,  23. )  answerable  to  the  ordinances, 
which  are  the  dressings  of  the  vineyard,  and  ac¬ 
ceptable  to  God,  the  Lord  of  the  vineyard,  and  fruit 
according  to  the  season.  Such  fruit  as  this  God  ex¬ 
pects  from  us,  grapes,  the  fruit  of  the  \  ine,  with 
which  they  honour  God  and  man;  (Judg.  ix.  13.) 
and  his  expectations  are  neither  high  nor  hard,  but 
righteous  and  verv  reasonable.  Yet  see  how  his 
expectations  are  frustrated;  it  brought  forth  wild 
grapes;  not  only  no  fruit  at  all,  but  bad  fruit,  worse 
th  in  none;  grapes  of  Sodom,  Deut.  xxxii.  32.  1. 

Wild  grapes  are  the  fruits  of  the  corrupt  nature; 
fruit  according  to  the  crab-stock,  not  according  to 
the  engrafted  branch;  from  the  root  of  bitterness, 
Heb.  xii.  15.  Where  grace  does  not  work,  corrup¬ 
tion  will.  2.  Wild  grapes  are  hypocritical  per¬ 
formances  in  religion,  that  look  like  grapes,  but  are 
sour  or  bitter;  and  are  so  far  from  being  pleasing  to 
Gad,  that  they  are  provoking,  as  theirs,  ch.  i.  11. 
Counterfeit  graces  are  wild  grapes. 

III.  An  appeal  to  themselves,  whether,  upon  the 
wh  le,  God  must  not  be  justified,  and  they  con¬ 
demned,  v.  iii.  4.  And  now  the  case  is  plainly 
st  it  d,  0  inhabitants  of  Jerusalem,  and  men  of  Ju¬ 
dah,  judye,  I  ftray  you,  betwixt  me  and  my  vine¬ 
yard.  This  implies  that  God  was  blamed  about 
ih  m:  there  was  a  controversy  between  them  and 
nim;  but  the  equity  was  so  plain  on  his  side,  that 
'ir  could  venture  to  put  the  decision  of  the  contro- 


|  versy  to  their  own  consciences;  “  Let  any  inhabi- 
!  tant  of  Jerusalem,  any  man  of  Judah,  that  has  but 
the  use  of  his  reason,  and  a  common  sense  of  equity 
and  justice,  speak  his  mind  impartially  in  this  mat- 
j  ter.  ”  Here  is  a  challenge  to  any  man  to  show, 

1.  Any  instance  wherein  God  had  been  wanting 
|  to  them;  What  could  have  been  done  more  to  my 
I  vineyard,  that  I  have  not  done  in  it?  He  speaks  ct 

!  the  external  means  of  fruitfulness,  and  such  as  might 
■  be  expected  from  the  dresser  of  a  vineyard,  fre  m 
whom  it  is  net  required  that  he  should  change  the 
nature  of  the  vine.  What  ought  to  have  been  done 
more?  (so  it  may  be  read. )  They  had  every'  thing 
requisite  for  instruction  and  direction  in  their  duty, 
for  the  quickening  of  them  to  it,  and  putting  of  them 
in  mind  of  it:  no  inducements  were  wanting  to  per¬ 
suade  them  to  it,  but  all  arguments  were  used,  pre- 
per  to  work  either  upon  hope  or  fear;  and  they  had 
all  the  opportunities  they  could  desire  for  the  per¬ 
formance  of  their  duty,  the  new-mcons,  and  the  sab¬ 
baths,  and  solemn  feasts;  they  had  the  scriptures, 
the  lively  oracles,  a  standing  ministry  in  the  priests 
and  Levites,  beside  what  was  extraordinary  in  the 
prophets.  No  nation  had  statutes  and  judgments 
so  nghteous. 

2.  Nor  could  any  tolerable  excuse  be  offered  for 
their  walking  thus  contrary  to  God;  “Wherefore, 
what  reason  can  be  given  why  it  should  bring  forth 
wild  grapes,  when  I  looked  for  grapes?”  Note,  The 
wickedness  of  those  that  profess  religion,  and  enjoy 
the  means  of  grace,  is  the  most  unreasonable,  unac¬ 
countable  thing  in  the  world,  and  the  whole  blame 
of  it  must  lie  upon  the  sinners  themselves;  If  thou 
scomest,  thou  alone  shalt  bear  it,  and  shalt  not  have 
a  word  to  say  for  thyself  in  the  judgment  of  the 
great  day.  God  will  prove  his  own  ways  equal,  and 
the  sinner’s  ways  unequal. 

IV.  Their  doom  read,  and  a  righteous  sentence 
passed  upon  them  for  their  bad  conduct  toward  God; 
(v.  5,  6.)  “  And  now  go  to;  since  nothing  can  be  of¬ 
fered  in  excuse  of  the  crime,  or  arrest  of  the  judg¬ 
ment,  I  will  tell  you  what  I  am  now  determined  to 
do  to  my  v  ineyard;  I  will  be  vexed  and  troubled 
with  it  no  more;  since  it  will  be  good  for  nothing, 
it  shall  be  good  for  nothing;  in  short,  it  shall  cease 
to  be  a  vineyard,  and  be  turned  into  a  wilderness; 
the  church  of  the  Jews  shall  be  unchurched,  their 
charter  shall  be  taken  away,  and  they  shall  become 
lo-ammi — not  my  people.  ”  1.  “  They  shall  no 

longer  be  distinguished  as  a  peculiar  people,  but  be 
laid  in  common;  I  will  take  away  the  hedge  thereof, 
and  then  it  will  soon  be  eaten  up,  and  become  as 
bare  as  other  ground.”  They  mingled  themselves 
with  the  nations,  and  therefore  were  justly  scattered 
among  them.  They  shall  no  longer  be  protected  as 
God’s  people,  but  left  exposed.  God  will  not  onlv 
suffer  the  wall  to  go  to  decay,  but  he  will  break  it 
down,  will  remove  all  their  defences  from  them; 
and  then  they  become  an  easy  prey  to  their  ene¬ 
mies,  who  had  long  waited  for  an  opportunity  to  do 
them  a  mischief,  and  will  now  tread  them  down, 
and  trample  upon  them.  3.  They  shall  no  longer 
have  the  face  of  a  vineyard,  the  form  and  shape  of 
a  church  and  commonwealth,  but  shall  be  levelled 
and  laid  waste.  This  was  fulfilled  when  Jerusalem 
for  their  sakes  was  ploughed  as  a  field,  Mic.  iii.  12 
4.  No  more  pains  shall  be  taken  with  them  by  ma 
gistrates  or  ministers,  the  dressers  and  keepers  cf 
their  vineyard;  it  shall  not  be  pruned  ordigged,  but 
every  thing  shall  run  wild,  and  nothing  shall  come 
up  but  briers  and  thorns,  the  products  of  sin  and 
the  curse,  Gen.  iii.  18.  When  errors  and  corrup¬ 
tions,  race  and  immorality,  go  without  check  or  con¬ 
trol,  no  testimony  borne  against  them,  no  rebuke 
given  them,  or  restraint  put  upon  them,  the  vine 
vard  is  unpruned,  is  not  dressed  or  ridded;  and  ther 
it  will  soon  be  like  the  vineyard  of  the  man  void  '  i 


36 


ISAIAH,  V. 


understanding,  all  grown  over  with  thorns.  5.  That 
which  completes  its  wo,  is,  that  the  dews  of  heaven 
shall  be  withheld;  he  that  has  the  key  of  the  clouds, 
will  command  them  that  they  rain  no  rain  upon  it; 
and  that  alone  is  sufficient  to  turn  it  into  a  desert. 
Note,  God,  in  a  way  of  righteous  judgment,  denies 
his  grace  to  those  that  have  long  received  it  in  vain. 
The  sum  of  all  is,  that  they  who  would  not  bring 
forth  good  fruit,  should  bring  forth  none.  The  curse 
of  barrenness  is  the  punishment  of  the  sin  of  barren¬ 
ness;  as  Mark  xi.  14.  This  had  its  accomplishment, 
in  part,  in  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem  by  the  Chal¬ 
deans,  its  full  accomplishment  in  the  final  rejection 
of  the  Jews,  and  has  its  frequent  accomplishment  in 
the  departure  of  God’s  Spirit  from  those  persons 
who  have  long  resisted  him,  and  striven  against 
him,  and  the  removal  rjf  his  gospel  from  those  places 
that  have  been  long  a  reproach  to  it,  while  it  has 
been  an  honour  to  them.  It  is  no  loss  to  God  to  lay 
his  vineyard  waste;  for  he  can,  when  he  pleases, 
turn  a  wilderness  into  a  fruitful  field;  and  when  he 
does  thus  dismantle  a  vineyard,  it  is  but  as  he  did 
by  the  garden  of  Eden,  which,  when  man  had  by 
sin  forfeited  his  place  in,  was  soon  levelled  with 
common  soil. 

V.  The  explanation  of  this  parable,  or  a  key  to 
it,  (n.  7.)  where  we  are  told,  1.  What  is  meant  by 
the  vineyard;  it  is  the  house  of  Israel,  the  body  of 
the  people,  incorporated  in  one  church  and  com¬ 
monwealth;  and  what  by  the  vines,  the  pleasant 
plants,  the  plants  of  God’s  pleasure,  which  he  had 
been  pleased  in,  and  delighted  in  doing  good  to; 
they  are  the  men  of  Judah;  these  he  had  dealt  gra¬ 
ciously  with,  and  from  them  he  expected  suitable 
returns.  2.  What  is  meant  by  the  grapes  that  were 
expected,  and  the  wild  grapes  that  were  produced; 
he  looked  for  judgment  and  righteousness,  that  the 
people  should  be  honest  in  ail  their  dealings,  and 
the  magistrates  should  strictly  administer  justice; 
this  might  reasonably  be  expected  among  a  people 
that  had  such  excellent  laws  and  rules  of  justice 
given  them ;  (Deut.  iv.  8. )  but  it  was  quite  other¬ 
wise;  instead  of  judgment  there  was  the  cruelty  of 
the  oppressors,  and  instead  of  righteousness  the  cry 
of  the  oppressed;  every  thing  was  carried  by  cla¬ 
mour  and  noise,  and  not  by  equity,  and  according 
to  the  merits  of  the  cause.  It  is  sad  with  a  people, 
when  wickedness  has  usurped  the  place  of  judg-- 
inent,  Eccl.  iii.  16.  It  is  very  sad  with  a  soul,  when, 
instead  of  the  grapes  of  humility,  meekness,  pa¬ 
tience,  love,  and  contempt  of  the  world,  which  God 
looks  for,  there  are  the  wild  grapes  of  pride,  pas¬ 
sion,  discontent,  malice,  and  contempt  of  God;  in¬ 
stead  of  the  grapes  of  praying  and  praising,  the 
wild  grapes  of  cursing  and  swearing,  which  are  a 
great  offence  to  God.  Some  of  the  ancients  apply 
this  to  the  Jews  in  Christ’s  time,  among  whom  Gocl 
looked  for  righteousness,  that  they  should  have  re¬ 
ceived  and  embraced  Christ,  but  behold,  a  cry,  that 
cry,  Crucify  him,  crucify  him. 

8.  Wo  unto  them  that  join  house  to 
house,  that  lay  field  to  field,  till  there  he  no 
place,  that  they  may  be  placed  alone  in  the 
midst  of  the  earth !  9.  In  mine  ears,  said 

die  Lord  of  hosts,  Of  a  truth,  many  houses 
shall  be  desolate,  even  great  and  fair,  with¬ 
out  inhabitant.  10.  Yea,  ten  acres  of  vine¬ 
yard  shall  yield  one  bath,  and  the  seed  of  a 
homer  shall  yield  an  ephah.  11.  Wo  unto 
them  that  rise  up  early  in  the  morning,  that 
i hey  may  follow  strong  drink;  that  continue 
until  night,////  wine  inflame  them!  12.  And 
the  haip  and  the  viol,  the  tabret  and  pipe, 


and  wine,  are  in  their  feasts:  but  they  re¬ 
gard  not  the  work  of  the  Lord,  neither  con¬ 
sider  the  operation  of  his  hands.  13.  There¬ 
fore  my  people  are  gone  into  captivity, 
because  they  have  no  knowledge;  and  then- 
honourable  men  are  famished,  and  then- 
multitude  dried  up  with  thirst.  14.  There¬ 
fore  hell  hath  enlarged  herself,  and  opened 
her  mouth  without  measure:  and  their  glory 
and  their  multitude,  and  their  pomp,  and  he 
that  rejoiceth,  shall  descend  into  it.  15 
And  the  mean  man  shall  be  brought  down, 
and  the  mighty  man  shall  be  humbled,  and 
the  eyes  of  the  lofty  shall  be  humbled:  16. 
But  the  Lord  of  hosts  shall  be  exalted  in 
judgment,  and  God,  that  is  holy,  shall  be 
sanctified  in  righteousness.  1 7.  Then  shall 
the  lambs  feed  after  their  manner,  and  the 
waste  places  of  the  fat  ones  shall  stranger? 
eat. 

The  world  and  the  flesh  are  the  two  great  ene¬ 
mies  that  we  are  in  danger  of  being  oveipowered 
by;  yet  we  are  in  no  danger,  if  we  do  not  ourselves 
yiulti  to  them.  Eagerness  of  the  world,  and  indul¬ 
gence  of  the  flesh,  are  the  two  sins  against  which 
the  prophet  in  God’s  name,  here  denounces  woes; 
these  sins  abounded  then  among  the  men  of  Judah, 
and  were  some  of  the  wild  grapes  they  brought 
forth,  ( v .  4. )  for  which  God  threatens  to  bring  ruin 
upon  them;  they  are  sins  which  we  have  all  need 
to  stand  upon  our  guard  against,  and  dread  the  con¬ 
sequences  of. 

I.  Here  is  a  wo  to  those  who  set  their  hearts 
upon  the  wealth  of  the  world,  and  place  their  hap¬ 
piness  in  that,  and  increase  it  to  themselves  by  indi 
rect  and  unlawful  means,  (y.  8. )  who  join  house  to 
house,  and  lay  field  to  field,  till  there  be  no  place . 
no  room  for  any  body  to  live  by  them;  could  they 
succeed,  they  would  be  placed  alone  in  the  midst  ci 
the  earth,  would  monopolize  possessions  and  pre¬ 
ferments,  and  engross  all  profits  and  employments 
to  themselves.  Not  that  it  is  a  sin  for  those  who 
have  a  house  and  a  field,  if  they  have  wherewithal 
to  purchase  another;  but  their  fault  is,  1.  That  they 
are  inordinate  in  their  desires  to  enrich  themselves, 
and  make  it  their  whole  care  and  business  to  raise 
an  estate;  as  if  they  had  nothing  to  mind,  nothing  to 
seek,  nothing  to  do,  in  this  world,  but  that.  They 
never  know  v-hen  they  have  enough,  but  the  mi  re 
they  have,  the  more  they  would  have;  and,  like  the 
daughters  of  the  horseleech,  they  cry,  Give,  give; 
they  cannot  enjoy  what  they  have,  nor  do  good  with 
it,  being  so  intent  on  contriving  and  studying  to 
make  it  more.  They  must  have  variety  of  houses, 
a  winter-house,  and  a  summer-house;  and  if  am  then 
man’s  house,  oj-  field,  lie  convenient  to  theirs,  os 
Naboth’s  vineyard  to  Ahab’s,  they  must  have  that 
too,  or  they  cannot  be  easy.  Their  fault  is,  2.  That 
they  are  herein  careless  of  others,  nay,  and  injurious 
to  them;  they  would  live  so  as  to  let  nobody  live  but 
themselves;  so  that  their  insatiable  covetings  be 
gratified,  they  matter  not  what  becomes  of  all  about 
them :  what  encroachments  they  make  upon  their 
neighbour’s  rights,  what  hardships  they  put  upon 
those  that  they  have  power  over,  or  advantage 
against,  or  what  base  and  wicked  arts  they  use  to 
heap  up  treasure  to  themselves.  They  would  swell 
so  big  as  to  fill  all  space,  and  yet  are  still  unsatisfied, 

|  Eccl.  v.  10.  As  Alexander,  who,  when  he  fancied 
j  he  had  conquered  the  world,  wept  because  hr-  had 
net  another  world  to  conquer:  Deficiente  terra,  non 


37 


1SA1 1 

imfilctur  avaritia — If  the  whole  earth  were  mono¬ 
polized,  avarice  would  thirst  for  more.  What,  will 
you  be  placed  alone  in  the  midst  of  the  earth?  (so 
some  read  it.)  Will  you  be  so  foolish  as  to  desire 
it,  when  we  have  so  much  need  of  the  service  of 
others,  and  so  much  comfort  in  their  society?  Will 
you  be  so  foolish  as  to  expect  that  the  earth  should 
be  forsaken  for  us,  (Job  xviii.  4.)  when  it  is  by  mul¬ 
titudes  that  the  earth  is  to  be  replenished?  An  prop¬ 
ter  vos  solos  tanta  terra  creata  est ? — Was  the  wide 
world  created  merely  for  you?  Lyra. 

Now  that  which  is  threatened,  as  the  punishment 
of  this  sin,  is,  th.it  neither  the  houses  nor  the  fields 
they  were  thus  greedy  of,  should  turn  to  any  ac¬ 
count,  v.  9,  10.  God  whispered  it  to  the  prophet 
in  his  ear,  as  he  speaks  in  a  like  case;  (c/i.  xxii.  14.) 
It  was  revealed  in  mine  ears  by  the  Lord  of  hosts; 
(as  God  told  Samuel  a  thing  in  his  ear,  1  Sam.  ix. 
15.)  he  thought  he  heard  it  still  sounding  in  his  ears; 
but  he  proclaims  it  as  he  ought  to  do,  upon  the  house¬ 
tops,  Matth.  x.  27.  (1.)  That  the  houses  they  were 
so  fond  of,  should  be  untenanted,  should  stand  long 
empty,  and  so  should  yield  them  no  rent,  and  go  out 
of  repair:  Many  houses  shall  be  desolate,  the  people 
that  should  dwell  in  them  being  cut  off  by  sword, 
famine,  or  pestilence,  or  carried  into  captivity;  or, 
trade  being  dead,  and  poverty  coming  upon  the 
country  like  an  armed  man,  those  that  had  been 
house-keepers,  were  forced  to  become  lodgers,  or 
shift  for  themselves  elsewhere.  Even  great  and  fair 
houses,  that  would  invite  tenants,  and  (there  being 
a  scarcity  of  tenants)  might  be  taken  at  low  rates, 
shall  stand  empty  without  inhabitants.  God  creat¬ 
ed  not  the  earth  in  vain:  he  formed  it  to  be  inhabit¬ 
ed,  ch.  xlv.  18.  But  men’s  projects  are  often  frus¬ 
trated,  and  what  they  frame,  answers  not  the  in¬ 
tention.  We  have  a  saying,  That  fools  build  houses 
for  wise  men  to  live  in;  but  sometimes  it  proves 
for  no  man  to  live  in.  God  has  many  ways  to  empty 
the  most  populous  cities.  (2. )  That  the  fields  they 
were  so  fond  of  should  be  unfruitful ;  (y.  10. )  Ten 
acres  of  vineyard  shall  yield  only  such  a  quantity 
of  grapes  as  will  m  ike  but  one  bath  of  wine,  which 
was  about  eight  gallons;  and  the  seed  of  an  homer, 
a  bushel’s  sowing  of  ground,  shall  yield  but  an 
eplvth,  which  was  the  tenth  part  of  an  homer;  so 
that,  through  the  barrenness  of  the  ground,  or  the 
unseasonableness  of  the  weather,  they  should  not 
have  more  than  a  tenth  part  of  their  seed  again. 
Note,  Those  that  set  their  hearts  upon  the  world, 
will  justly  be  disappointed  in  their  expectations 
from  it. 

II.  Here  is  a  wo  to  those  that  doat  upon  the  plea¬ 
sures  and  delights  of  sense,  v.  11,  12.  Sensuality 
ruins  men  as  certainly  as  worldliness  and  oppres¬ 
sion.  As  Christ  pronounced  a  wo  against  those  that 
are  rich,  so  also  against  those  that  laugh  now,  and 
are  full,  (Luke  vi.  24,  25.)  and  fare  sumptuously, 
Luke  xvi.  19. 

Obseri  e,  1.  Who  the  sinners  are  against  whom 
this  wo  is  denounced;  (1.)  They  are  such  as  are 
given  to  drink,  they  make  it  their  business,  have 
their  hearts  upon  it,  and  overcharge  themselves 
with  it.  They  rise  early  to  follow  strong  drink,  as 
husbandmen  and  tradesmen  do  to  follow  their  em¬ 
ployments;  as  if  they  were  afraid  of  losing  time 
from  that  which  is  the  greatest  mispendingof  time. 
Whereas  commonly  they  that  are  drunken,  are 
drunken  in  the  night,  when  they  have  despatched 
the  day,  these  neglect  business,  abandon  it,  and  give 
up  themselves  to  the  service  of  the  flesh;  for  they 
sit  at  their  cups  all  day,  and  continue  till  night,  till 
wine  inflame  them — inflame  their  lusts;  chambering  [ 
and  wantonness  follow  upon  rioting  and  drunkenness 
— inflame  their  passions;  for  who  but  such  have 
contentions  and  wounds  without  cause?  Prov.  xxiii. 

29 — 33.  They  make  a  perfect  trade  of  drinking;  , 


\H,  V. 

nor  do  they  seek  the  shelter  of  the  night  for  this 
work  of  darkness,  as  men  ashamed  of  it,  but  count 
it  a  /ileasure  to  riot  in  the  clay-timc.  See  2  Pet.  ii. 
13.  (2.)  They  are  such  as  are  given  to  mirth;  they 
have  their  feasts,  and  they  are  so  merrily  disprsed, 
that  they  cannot  dine  or  sup  without  music,  musical 
instruments  of  all  sorts,  like  David,  (Amos  vi.  5.) 
like  Solomon;  (Eccl.  ii.  8.)  the  harp  and  the  viol, 
the  tabret  and  pipe,  must  accompany  the  wine,  that 
every  sense  may  be  gratified  to  a  nicety:  they  take 
the  timbrel  and  harp.  Job  xxi.  12.  The  use  (if  mu¬ 
sic  is  lawful  in  itself;  but  when  it  is  excessive,  when 
we  set  our  hearts  upon  it,  mispend  time  in  it,  so 
that  it  crowds  our  spiritual  and  divine  pleasures, 
and  draws  away  the  heart  from  God,  then  it  turns 
into  sin  to  us.  (3.)  They  are  such  as  never  give 
their  mind  to  anv  thing  that  is  serious;  they  regard 
not  the  work  of  the  Lord,  they  observe'  not  his 
power,  wisdom,  and  goodness,  in  those  creatures 
which  they  abuse,  and  subject  to  vanity,  nor  the 
bounty  of  his  providence,  in  giving  them  those  good 
things  which  they  make  the  food  and  fuel  of  their 
lusts.  God’s  judgments  have  already  seized  them, 
and  they  are  under  the  tokens  of  his  displeasure,  but 
they  regard  not,  they  consider  not  the  hand  cf  God 
in  all  these  things;  his  hand  is  lifted  up,  but  they 
will  not  see,  because  they  will  not  disturb  them¬ 
selves  in  their  pleasures,  nor  think  what  God  is  do¬ 
ing  with  them. 

2.  What  the  judgments  are,  which  are  denounc¬ 
ed  against  them,  and  in  part  executed.  It  is  here 
foretold, 

(1.)  That  they  should  be  dislodged;  the  land 
should  spue  out  these  drunkards;  (v.  13.)  My  peo¬ 
ple  (so  they  called  themselves,  and  were  proud  of 
it)  are  therefore  gone  into  captivity,  are  as  sure  p 
go,  as  if  they  were  gone  already,  because  they  have 
no  knowledge;  how  should  they  have  knowledge, 
when  by  their  excessive  drinking  they  make  sots 
and  fools  of  themselves?  They  set  up  for  wits,  but, 
because  they  regard  not  God’s  controversy  with 
them,  nor  take  any  care  to  make  their  peace  with 
him,  they  may  tnilv  be  said  to  have  no  knowledge; 
and  the  reason  is,  because  they  will  have  none;  they 
are  inconsiderate  and  wilful,  and  therefore  destroyed 
for  lack  of  knowledge. 

(2.)  That  they  should  be  impoverished,  and  come 
to  want  that  which  they  had  wasted  and  abused  to 
excess;  Even  their  glory  are  men  of  famine,  subject 
to  it,  and  slain  by  it;  and  their  multitude  are  dried 
up  with  thirst:  both  the  great  men  and  the  common 
people  are  ready  to  perish  for  want  of  bread  and 
water;  this  is  the  effect  of  the  failure  of  the  com, 
(v.  10.)  for  the  king  himself  is  served  of  the  field, 
Eccl.  v.  9.  And  when  the  vintage  fails,  the  dnmk 
ards  are  called  upon  to  weep,  because  the  new  wim 
is  cut  off  from  their  mouth,  (Joel  i.  5.)  and  not  so 
much  because  now  they  want  it,  as  because,  when 
they  had  it,  they  abused  it.  It  is  just  with  God  to 
make  men  want  that  for  necessity,  which  they  have 
abused  to  excess. 

(3.)  That  multitudes  should  be  cut  off  by  famim 
and  sword;  (v.  14.)  Therefore  hell  has  enlarged 
herself;  Tophet,  the  common  burving-place,  proves 
too  little;  so  many  are  there  to  be  buried,  that  thev 
shall  be  forced  to  enlarge  it:  the  grave  has  opened 
her  mouth  without  measure,  never  saying,  It  it 
enough,  Prov.  xxx.  15,  16.  It  may  be  understood 
of  the  place  of  the  damned;  luxury  and  sensuality 
fill  those  regions  of  darkness  and  horror;  there  they 
are  tormented,  who  made  a  god  of  their  belly,  Luke 
xvi.  25.  Phil.  iii.  19. 

(4.)  That  they  should  be  humbled  and  abased, 
and  all  their  honours  laid  in  the  dust.  This  will  be 
done  effectually  by  death  and  the  grave;  Their  glory 
shall  descend,  not  only  to  the  earth,  but  into  it;  it 
shall  not  descend  after  them,  (Ps.  xlix.  17.)  to  stano 


33 


ISAIAH,  V. 


diem  in  any  stead  on  the  other  side  death,  but  it 
shall  die  and  he  buried  with  them;  poor  glory, 
which  will  thus  wither!  Did  they  glory  in  their 
numbers?  Their  multitude  shall  go  down  to  the  pit, 
Ezek.  xxxi.  18. — xxxii.  32.  Did  they  glory  in  the 
figure  they  made?  Their  pomp  shall  be  at  an  end; 
their  shouts  with  which  they  triumphed,  and  were 
attended.  Did  they  glory  in  their  mirth?  Death  will 
turn  it  into  mounting;  he  that  rejoices  and  revels, 
and  never  knows  what  it  is  to  be  serious,  shall  go 
thither  where  there  is  weeping  and  wailing.  Thus 
the  mean  man  and  the  mighty  man  meet  together 
in  the  grave,  and  under  mortifying  judgments.  Let 
a  man  be  ever  so  high,  death  will  bring  him  low, 
ever  so  mean,  death  will  bring  him  lower;  in  the 
prospect  of  winch,  the  eyes  of  the  lofty  should  now 
be  humbled,  v.  15.  It  becomes  those  to  look  low, 
that  must  shortly  be  laid  low. 

3.  What  the  fruit  of  these  judgments  shall  be. 

(1.)  God  shall  be  glorified,  v.  16.  He  that  is  the 
Lord  of  hosts,  and  the  holy  God,  sh  ill  be  exalted 
and  sanctified  in  the  judgment  and  righteousness  of 
these  dispensations.  His  justice  must  be  owned,  in 
bringing  those  low  that  exalted  themselves;  and 
herein  he  is  glorified;  [1.]  As  a  God  of  irresistible 
power:  he  will  herein  be  exalted  as  the  Lord  of 
hosts,  that  is  able  to  break  the  strongest,  humble 
the  proudest,  and  tame  the  most  unruly.  Power  is 
not  exalted  but  in  judgment.  It  is  the  honour  of 
God,  that,  though  he  has  a  mighty  arm,  yet  judg¬ 
ment  and  justice  are  always  the  habitation  of  his 
throne ,  Ps.  lxxxix.  13,  14.  [2.]  As  a  God  of  un¬ 

spotted  purity;  he  that  is  holy,  infinitely  holy,  shall 
be  sanctified,  shall  be  owned  and  declared  to  be  so 
in  the  righteous  punishment  of  proud  men.  Note, 
When  proud  men  are  humbled,  the  great  God  is 
honoured,  and  ought  to  be  honoured  by  us. 

(2.)  Good  people  shall  be  relieved  and  succoured; 
(v.  17.)  Then  shall  the  lambs  feed  after  their  man¬ 
ner;  the  meek  ones  of  the  earth,  who  follow  the 
Lamb,  who  were  persecuted,  and  put  into  fear  by 
those  proud  oppressors,  shall  feed  quietly,  feed  in 
the  green  pastures,  and  there  shall  be  none  to  make 
them  afraid.  See  Ezek.  xxxiv.  14.  When  the  ene¬ 
mies  of  the  church  are  cut  off,  then  have  the  church¬ 
es  rest;  they  shall  feed  at  their  pleasure;  so  some 
read  it.  Blessed  are  the  meek,  for  they  shall  inherit 
the  earth,  and  delight  themselves  in  abundant  peace. 
They  shall  feed  according  to  their  order  or  capacity ; 
so  others  reads  it;  as  they  are  able  to  hear  the  word, 
that  bread  of  life. 

(3.)  The  country  shall  be  laid  waste,  and  be¬ 
come  a  prey  to  the  neighbours;  the  waste  places 
of  the  fat  ones,  the  possessions  of  those  inch  men 
that  lived  at  their  ease,  those  shall  be  eaten  by 
strangers  that  were  nothing  akin  to  them.  In  the 
captivity,  the  poor  of  the  land  were  left  for  vine¬ 
dressers  and  husbandmen;  (2  Kings  xxv.  12.)  those 
were  the  lambs,  that  feed  in  the  pastures  of  the  fat 
ones,  which  were  laid  in  common  for  strangers  to 
eat.  When  the  church  of  the  Jews,  those  fat  ones, 
was  laid  waste,  their  privileges  were  transferred  to 
the  Gentiles,  who  had  been  long  strangers;  and  the 
lambs  of  Christ’s  flock  were  welcome  to  them. 

18.  Wo  unto  them  that  draw  iniquity 
with  cords  of  vanity,  and  sin  as  it  were  with 
a  cart-rope !  1 9.  That  say,  Let  him  make 

speed,  anti  hasten  his  work,  that  we  may 
see  it :  and  let  the  counsel  of  the  Holy  One 
of  Israel  draw  nigh  and  come,  that  we  may 
know  it!  20.  Wo  unto  them  that  call  evil 
good,  and  good  evil;  that  put  darkness  for 
ligot,  and  light  for  darkness;  that  put  bitter 
for  sweet,  and  sweet  for  hitter!  21.  Wo  | 


unto  them  that  are  wise  in  their  own  eyes, 
and  prudent  in  their  own  sight !  22.  Wo 
unto  them  that  are  mighty  to  drink  wine,  and 
men  of  strength  to  mingle  strong  drink :  23. 
M  Inch  justify  the  wicked  for  reward,  and 
fake  away  the  righteousness  of  the  righteous 
from  him !  24.  Therefore  as  the  fire  devour¬ 
ed)  the  stubble,  and  the  flame  consumeth  the 
chaff,  so  their  root  shall  be  as  rottenness,  and 
their  blossom  shall  go  up  as  dust:  because 
they  have  cast  away  the  law  of  the  Loud  of 
hosts,  and  despised  the  word  of  the  HolyOne 
of  Israel.  25.  Therefore  is  the  anger  of  the 
Lord  kindled  against  his  people,  and  he 
hath  stretched  forth  his  hand  against  them, 
and  hath  smitten  them :  and  the  hills  did 
tremble,  and  their  carcases  were  torn  in  the 
midst  of  the  streets.  For  all  this  his  anger 
is  not  turned  away,  but  his  hand  is  stretched 
out  still.  26.  And  he  will  lift  up  an  ensign 
to  the  nations  from  far,  and  will  hiss  unto 
them  from  the  end  of  the  earth:  and,  behold, 
they  shall  come  with  speed  swiftly.  27. 
None  shall  be  weary  nor  stumble  among 
them;  none  shall  slumber  nor  sleep;  neither 
shall  the  girdle  of  their  loins  be  loosed,  nor 
the  latehet  of  their  shoes  be  broken:  23. 
W  hose  arrows  are  sharp,  and  all  their  bows 
bent,  their  horses’  hoofs  shall  be  counted 
like  flint, and  their  wheels  like  a  whirlwind: 

29.  Their  roaring  shall  be  like  a  lion,  they 
shall  roar  like  young  lions;  yea,  they  shall 
roar,  and  lay  hold  of  the  prey,  and  shall 
carry  it  away  safe,  and  none  shall  deliver  it 

30.  And  in  that  day  they  shall  roar  against 
them  like  the  roaring  of  the  sea;  and  if  one 
look  unto  the  land,  behold  darkness  and  sor¬ 
row  ;  and  the  light  is  darkened  in  the  hea 
vens  thereof. 

Here  are, 

I.  Sins  described,  which  will  bring  judgments 
upon  a  people;  and  this  perhaps  is  not  onlv  a  charge 
drawn  up  against  the  men  of  Judah',  who  lived  at 
that  time,  and  the  particular  articles  of  that  charge, 
though  it  may  relate  primarily  to  them;  but  it  is  ra¬ 
ther  intended  for  warning  to  ail  people,  in  all  ages,  to 
take  heed  to  these  sins,  as  destructive  both  to  par¬ 
ticular  persons  and  to  communities,  and  exposing 
men  to  God’s  wrath  and  his  righteous  judgments. 

Those  that  are  here  said  to  be  in  a  woful  condi 
tion, 

1.  Who  are  eagerly  set  upon  sin,  and  violent  in 
their  sinful  pursuits;  (r.  18.)  who  draw  iniquity 
with  cords  of  vanity,  who  take  as  much  pains  to 
sin,  as  the  cattle  do,  that  draw  in  a  team;  who  put 
themselves  to  the  stretch  for  the  gratifying  of  theit 
inordinate  appetites,  and  to  humour  a  base  lust,  of 
fer  violence  to  nature  itself.  They  think  themselves 
as  sure  of  compassing  their  wicked  projects,  as  if 
they  were  pulling  it  to  them  with  strong  cart-ropes: 
but  they  will  find  themselves  disappointed,  for  thev 
will  prove  cords  of  vanity,  which  will  break  when 
they  come  to  any  stress;  for  the  righteous  I.ord  wi/i 
cut  in  sunder  the  cords  of  the  wicked,  Ps.  cxxix.  4. 
Job  iv.  8.  Prow  xxii.  8.  They  are  bv  long  custom 


ISAIAH,  Vr. 


30 


ami  confirmed  habits,  so  hardened  in  sin,  that  they 
cannot  get  clear  of  it:  those  that  sin  through  infir¬ 
mity,  are  drawn  away  by  sin;  those  that  sin  pre¬ 
sumptuously,  draw  it  to  them,  in  spite  of  the  oppo¬ 
sitions  of  Providence  and  the  checks  of  conscience. 
Some  by  sin  understand  the  punishment  of  sin;  they 
■■'ull  God’s  judgments  upon  their  own  heads,  as  it 
were  with  cart-ropes. 

2.  Who  set  the  justice  of  God  at  defiance,  and 

challenge  the  Almighty  to  do  his  worst;  (x>.  19.) 
They  say,  Let  him  make  speed,  and  hasten  his  work; 
this  is  the  same  language  with  that  of  the  scoffers 
of  the  last  days,  who  say.  Where  is  the  promise  of 
his  coining?  And  therefore  it  is,  that,  like  them, 
the)'  draw  iniquity  with  cords  of  vanity,  are  violent 
and  daring  in  sin,  and  walk  after  their  own  lusts,  2 
Pet.  iii.  1,  3,  4.  (1.)  They  ridicule  the  prophets, 

and  banter  them;  it  is  in  scorn  that  they  call  God 
the  Holy  One  of  Israel,  because  the  prophets  used 
with  great  veneration  to  call  him  so.  (2. )  They  will 
not  believe  the  revelation  of  God’s  wrath  from  hea¬ 
ven  against  their  ungodliness  and  unrighteousness; 
unless  they  see  it  executed,  they  will  not  know  it, 
as  if  the  curse  were  brutum  fulmen — a  mere  flash, 
and  all  the  threatenings  of  the  word  bugbears  to 
frighten  fools  and  children.  (3. )  If  God  should  ap¬ 
pear  against  them,  as  he  has  threatened,  yet  they 
think  themselves  able  to  make  their  part  good  with 
him,  and  provoke  him  to  jealousy,  as  if  they  were 
stronger  than  he,  1  Cor.  x.  22.  “We  have  heard 
his  word,  but  it  is  all  talk;  let  him  hasten  his  work, 
we  shall  shift  for  ourselves  well  enough.”  Note, 
Those  that  wilfully  persist  in  sin,  consider  not  the 
power  of  God’s  anger. 

3.  Who  confound  and  overthrow  the  distinctions 
between  moral  good  and  evil,  who  call  evil  good, 
and  good  evil,  (x>.  20.)  who  not  only  live  in  the 
omission  of  that  which  is  good,  but  condemn  it,  ar¬ 
gue  against  it,  and,  because  they  will  not  practise  it 
themselves,  run  it  down  in  others,  and  fasten  invi¬ 
dious  epithets  upon  it;  they  not  only  do  that  which 
is  evil,  but  justify  it,  and  applaud  it,  and  recom¬ 
mend  it  to  others  as  safe  and  good.  Note,  (1.)  Vir¬ 
tue  and  piety  are  good,  for  they  are  light  and  sweet, 
they  are  pleasant  and  right;  but  sin  and  wickedness 
are  evil,  they  are  darkness,  all  the  fruit  of  ignorance 
and  mistake,  and  will  be  bitterness  in  the  latter  end. 
(2.)  Those  do  a  great  deal  of  wrong  to  God,  and  re¬ 
ligion,  and  conscience,  to  their  own  souls  and  to  the 
souls  of  others,  who  misrepresent  these,  and  put  false 
colours  upon  them,  who  call  drunkenness  good  fel¬ 
lowship,  and  covetousness  good  husbandry,  and, 
when  they  persecute  the  people  of  God,  think  they 
do  him  good  service;  and,  on  the  other  hand,  who 
call  seriousness  ill-nature,  and  sober  singularity  ill- 
breeding,  who  say  all  manner  of  evil  falsely  con¬ 
cerning  the  ways  of  godliness,  and  do  what  they 
can  to  form  in  men’s  minds  prejudices  against  them ; 
and  this  in  defiance  of  evidence  as  plain  and  con¬ 
vincing  as  that  of  sense,  by  which  we  distinguish, 
beyond  contradiction,  between  light  and  darkness, 
and  that  which  to  the  taste  is  sweet  and  bitter. 

4.  Who,  though  they  are  guilty  of  such  gross  mis¬ 
takes  as  these,  have  a  great  opinion  of  their  own 
judgments,  and  value  themselves  mightily  upon 
their  understanding;  (x».  21.)  they  are  wise  in  their 
own  eyes;  the)'  think  themselves  able  to  disprove 
and  baffle  the  reproofs  and  convictions  of  God’s 
word,  and  to  evade  and  elude  both  the  searches 
and  the  reaches  of  his  judgments;  that  they  can  out¬ 
wit  Infinite  Wisdom,  and  countermine  Providence 
itself.  Or,  it  may  be  taken  more  generally;  God 
resists  the  proud,  those  particularly  who  arc  con¬ 
ceited  of  their  own  wisdom,  and  lean  to  their  own 
understanding;  such  must  become  fools,  that  they 
may  be  truly  wise,  or  else,  at  their  end,  they  shall 
appear  to  be  fools  before  all  the  world. 


5.  Who  gloried  in  it  as  a  great  accomplisninent, 
that  they  were  able  to  bear  a  great  deal  of  strong 
liquor  without  being  overcome  by  it;  (v.  22.)  Who 
are  mighty  to  drink  wine,  and  "use  their  strength 
and  vigour,  not  in  the  service  of  their  country,  but 
in  the  Service  of  their  lusts.  Let  drunkards  know 
from  this  scripture,  that,  (1.)  They  ungratefully 
abuse  their  bodily  strength,  which  God  has  given 
them  for  good  purooses,  and  by  degrees  cannot  but 
weaken  it.  (2.)  It  will  not  excuse  them  from  the 
guilt  of  drunkenness,  that  they  can  drink  hard,  and 
yet  keep  their  feet.  (3.)  Those  who  boast  of  their 
drinking  down  others,  glory  in  their  shame.  (4.) 
How  light  soever  men  make  of  their  drunkenness,  it 
is  a  sin  which  will  certainly  lay  them  open  to  the 
wrath  and  curse  of  God. 

6.  Who,  as  judges,  perverted  justice,  and  went 
counter  to  all  the  rules  of  equity,  xs  23.  This  fol¬ 
lowed  upon  the  former;  they  drink,  and  forget  the 
law,  (Prov.  xxxi.  5.)  and  err  through  wine,  ( ch . 
xxviii.  7.)  and  take  bribes,  that  they  may  have 
wherewithal  to  maintain  their  luxury.  They"  justify 
the  wicked  for  reward,  and  find  some  pretence  or 
other  to  clear  him  from  his  guilt,  and  shelter  him 
from  punishment;  and  they  condemn  the  innocent, 
and  take  away  their  righteousness  from  them,  over- 
rale  their  pleas,  deprive  them  of  the  means  of  clear¬ 
ing  up  their  innocency,  and  give  judgment  against 
them.  In  causes  between  man  and  man,  might  and 
money  would  at  any  time  prevail  against  right  and 
justice;  and  he  who  was  ever  so  plainly  in  the 
wrong,  with  a  small  bribe  would  carry  the  cause, 
and  recover  costs.  In  criminal  causes,  though  the 
prisoner  ever  so  plainly  appeared  to  be  guilty,  yet, 
for  a  reward,  they  would  acquit  him;  if  he  were 
innocent,  yet,  if  he  did  not  fc-e  them  well,  nay,  if 
they  were  fee’d  by  the  malicious  prosecutor,  or  they 
themselves  had  spleen  against  him,  they  would  con¬ 
demn  him. 

II.  The  judgments  described,  which  these  sins 
would  bring  upon  them.  Let  not  those  expect  to 
live  easily,  who  live  thus  wickedly;  for  the  righte¬ 
ous  God  will  take  vengeance,  v  '.  24 — 30.  Where 
we  may  observe, 

1.  How  complete  this  ruin  will  be,  and  how  ne¬ 
cessarily  and  unavoidably  it  will  follow  upon  their 
sins.  He  had  compared  this  people  to  a  vine,  (x\ 

7.)  well-fixed,  and  which,  it  was  hoped,  would  be 
flourishing  and  fruitful;  but  the  grace  of  God  to¬ 
wards  it  was  received  in  vain,  and  then  the  root  be¬ 
came  rottenness,  being  dried  up  from  beneath,  and 
the  blossom  wculd  of  course  blow  off  as  dust,  as  a 
light  and  worthless  thing,  Job  xviii.  16.  Sin  weak¬ 
ens  the  strength,  the  root,  of  a  people,  so  that  they 
are  easily  rooted  up;  it  defaces  the  beauty,  the  blos¬ 
soms,  of  a  people,  and  takes  away  the  hopes  of  fruit. 
The  sin  of  unfruitfulncss  is  punished  with  the  plague 
of  unfruitfulness.  Sinners  make  themselves  as 
stubble  and  chaff,  combustible  matter,  proper  fuel 
to  the  fire  of  God’s  wrath,  which  then,  of  course, 
devours  and  consumes  them,  as  the  fire  devours  the 
stubble,  and  nobody  can  hinder  it,  or  cares  to  hin 
der  it.  Chaff  is  consumed,  unhelped  and  unpitied. 

2.  How  just  the  ruin  will  be;  Because  they  have 
cast  away  the  law  of  the  Lord  of  hosts,  and  would 
not  have  him  to  reign  over  them ;  and  as  the  law  of 

i  Moses  was  rejected  and  thrown  off,  so  the  word  of 
the  Holy  One  of  Israel  by  his  servants  the  prophets, 
j  putting  them  in  mind  of  his  law,  and  calling  them 
'  to  obedience,  was  despised  and  disregarded.  God 
does  not  reject  men  for  every  transgression  of  his 
law  and  word;  but,  when  his  word  is  despised,  and 
his  law  cast  away,  what  can  they  expect,  but  that 
God  should  utterly  abandon  them? 

3.  Whence  this  rain  should  come;  (x>.  25.)  it  is 
j  destruction  from  the  Almighty.  (1.)  The  justice 
I  of  God  appoints  it;  for  that  is  the  anger  of  the  Lord 


■10 


ISAIAH,  VI. 


which  is  kindled  against  his  people,  his  necessary 
vindication  of  the  honour  of  his  holiness  and  autho¬ 
rity.  (2.)  The  power  of  God  effects  it;  he  hath 
stretched  forth  his  hand  against  them;  that  hand 
which  had  many  a  time  been  stretched  out  for  them 
against  their  enemies,  is  now  stretched  out  against 
them,  at  full  length,  and  in  its  full  vigour;  and  who 
knows  the  / tower  of  his  anger?  Whether  they  are 
sensible  of  it  or  no,  it  is  God  that  has  smitten  them, 
has  blasted  their  vine,  and  made  it  wither. 

4.  The  consequences  and  continuance  of  this  ruin. 
When  God  comes  forth  in  wrath  against  a  people, 
the  hills  tremble,  fear  seizes  even  their  great  men, 
who  are  strong  and  high;  the  earth  shakes  under 
men,  and  is  ready  to  sink;  and  as  this  feels  dread¬ 
ful,  (what  does  more  so  than  an  earthquake?)  so 
what  sight  can  be  more  frightful  than  the  carcases  of 
of  men  torn  with  dogs,  or  thrown  as  dung  (so  the  mar¬ 
gin  reads)  in  the  midst  of  the  streets?  This  intimates 
that  great  multitudes  should  be  slain, not  only  soldiers 
in  the  field  of  battle,  but  the  inhabitants  of  their  cities 
put  to  the  sword  in  cold  blood,  and  that  the  survi¬ 
vors  should  neither  have  hands  nor  hearts  to  bury 
them.  This  is  very  dreadful,  and  vet  such  is  the 
merit  of  sin,  that,  for  all  this,  God's  anger  is  not 
turned  away;  that  fire  will  burn  as  long  as  there 
nemains  any  of  the  stubble  and  chaff  to  be  fuel  for 
it:  and  his  hand,  which  he  stretched  forth  against 
his  people  to  smite  them,  because  they  do  not  by 
prayer  take  hold  of  it,  nor  by  reformation  submit 
themselves  to  it,  is  stretched  out  still. 

5.  The  instruments  that  should  be  employed  in 
bringing  this  ruin  upon  them;  it  should  be  done  by 
the  incursion  of  a  foreign  enemy,  that  should  lay  all 
waste:  no  particular  enemy  is  named,  and  therefore 
we  are  to  take  it  as  a  prediction  of  all  the  several 
judgments  of  this  kind  which  God  brought  upon  the 
Jews,  Sennacherib’s  invasion  soon  after,  and  the  de¬ 
struction  of  Jerusalem  by  the  Chaldeans  first,  and 
at  last  by  the  Romans;  and  I  think  it  is  to  be  looked 
upon  also  as  a  threatening  of  the  like  desolation  of 
those  countries  which  harbour  and  countenance 
those  sins  mentioned  in  the  foregoing  verses:  it  is 
an  exposition  of  those  woes. 

When  God  designs  the  ruin  of  a  provoking  peo- 
ple, 

(1.)  He  can  send  a  great  way  off  for  instruments 
to  be  employed  in  it;  he  can  raise  forces  from  afar, 
and  summon  them  from  the  end  of  the  earth  to  at¬ 
tend  his  service,  v.  26.  Those  who  know  him  not, 
are  made  of  use  to  fulfil  his  counsel,  when,  by  rea¬ 
son  of  their  distance,  they  can  scarcely  be  supposed 
to  have  any  ends  of  their  own  to  serve.  If  God  set 
up  his  standard,  he  can  incline  men’s  hearts  to  en¬ 
list  themselves  under  it,  though  perhaps  they  know 
not  whv  or  wherefore.  When  the  Lord  of  hosts  is 
pleased  to  make  a  general  muster  of  the  forces  he 
has  at  his  command,  he  has  a  great  army  in  an  in¬ 
stant,  Joel  ii.  2,  11.  He  needs  not  sound  a  trumpet, 
or  beat  a  drum,  to  give  them  notice,  or  to  animate 
them;  no,  he  does  but  hiss  to  them,  or  rather  whis¬ 
tle  to  them,  and  that  is  enough;  they  hear  that,  and 
that  puts  courage  into  them.  Note,  God  has  all  the 
creatures  at  his  beck. 

(2. )  He  can  make  them  come  into  the  service  with 
incredible  expedition;  Behold ,  they  shall  come  with 
sfieed  swiftly.  Note,  [1.]  Those  who  will  do  God’s 
work  must  not  loiter,  must  not  linger,  nor  shall  they 
when  his  time  is  come.  [2.]  Those  who  defy  God’s 
judgments,  will  be  ashamed  of  their  insolence  when 
it  is  too  late;  they  said  scornfully,  (u.  19.)  Let  him 
make  sfieed,  let  him  hasten  his  work,  and  they  shall 
find,  to  their  terror  and  confusion,  that  he  will;  in 
one  hour  is  the  judgment  come. 

(2.)  He  can  carry  them  on  in  the  service  with 
amazing  forwardness  and  fury.  This  is  described 
here  in  very  elegant  and  lofty  expressions,  v.  27 — 


30.  [1.]  Though  their  marches  be  very  long,  yet 

none  among  them  shall  be  weary;  so  desirous  shall 
they  be  to  engage,  that  they  shall  forget  their  wea¬ 
riness,  and  make  no  complaints  of  it.  [2.]  Though 
the  way  be  rough,  and  perhaps  embarrassed  by  the 
usual  policies  of  war,  yet  none  among  them  shall 
stumble,  but  all  the  difficulties  in  their  way  shall 
easily  be  got  over.  [3.]  Though  they  be  forced  to 
keep  constant  watch,  none  shall  slumber  nor  sleep, 
so  intent  shall  they  be  upon  their  vvork,  in  prospect 
of  having  the  plunder  of  the  city  for  their  pains. 
[4.]  They  shall  not  desire  any  rest  or  relaxation; 
they  shall  not  put  off  their  clothes,  nor  loose  the  gir- 
dle’of  their  loins,  but  shall  always  have  their  belts 
on,  and  swords  by  their  sides.  [5.]  They  shall  net 
meet  with  the  least  hindrance  to  retard  their  march, 
or  oblige  them  to  halt;  not  a  latchet  of  their  shoes 
shall  be  broken,  which  they  must  stay  to  mend,  as 
Josh.  ix.  13.  [6.]  Their  arms  and  ammunition 

shall  all  be  fixed,  and  in  good  posture;  their  arrows 
sharp,  to  wound  deep,  and  all  their  bows  bent,  none 
unstrung,  for  they  expect  to  be  soon  in  action.  [7.] 
Their  horses  and  chariots  of  war  are  all  fit  for  ser¬ 
vice;  their  horses  so  strong,  so  hardy,  that  their 
hoofs  shall  be  like  flint,  far  from  being  beaten  or 
made  tender,  bv  their  long  march;  and  the  wheels 
of  their  chariots  not  broken,  or  battered,  or  cut  of 
repair,  but  swift  like  a  whirlwind,  turning  round  so 
strongly  upon  their  axle-trees.  [8.]  All  the  soldiers 
shall  be  bold  and  daring;  (x>.  29.)  their  roaring,  or 
shouting,  before  a  battle,  shall  be  like  a  lion,  who 
with  his  roaring  animates  himself,  and  terrifies  all 
about  him.  They  who  would  not  hear  the  voice  of 
|  God  speaking  to  them  by  his  prophets,  but  stopped 
their  ears  against  their  charms,  shall  be  made  to 
1  hear  the  voice  of  their  enemies  roaring  against  them, 
and  shall  not  be  able  to  turn  a  deaf  ear  to  it;  they 
shall  roar  like  the  roaring  of  the  sea  in  a  storm ;  it 
roars,  and  threatens  to  swallow  up,  as  the  lion  roars, 
and  threatens  to  tear  in  pieces.  [9.]  There  shall 
not  be  the  least  prospect  of  relief  or  succour;  the 
enemy  shall  come  in  like  a  flood,  and  there  shall  be 
none  to  lift  up  a  standard  against  him;  he  shall  seize 
the  prey,  and  none  shall  deliver  it,  none  shall  be  able 
to  deliver  it,  nay,  none  shall  so  much  as  dare  to  at¬ 
tempt  the  deliverance  of  it,  but  shall  give  it  up  for 
lost.  Let  the  distressed  look  which  way  they  will, 
every  thing  appears  dismal;  for  if  God  frown  upon 
us,  how  can  any  creature  smile?  First,  Lock  round 
to  the  earth,  to"  the  land,  to  that  land  that  used  to 
be  a  land  of  light,  and  the  joy  of  the  whole  earth, 
and  behold,  darkness  and  sorrow,  all  frightful,  all 
mourning,  nothing  hopeful.  Secondly,  Look  up  to 
heaven,  and  there  the  light  is  darkened,  where  one 
would  expect  to  have  found  it.  If  the  light  is  dark¬ 
ened  in  the  heavens,  how  great  is  that  darkness! 
If  God  hide  his  face,  no  marvel  the  heavens  hide 
theirs,  and  appear  gloomy.  Job  xxxiv.  29.  It  is  cur 
wisdom,  bv  keeping  a  good  conscience,  to  keep  all 
clear  between  us  and  heaven,  that  we  may  have 
light  from  above,  when  clouds  and  darkness  are 
round  about  us. 

CHAP.  VI. 

Hitherto,  it  should  seem,  Isaiah  had  prophesied  a?  a  can 
didate,  having  only  a  virtual  and  implicit  commission 
but  here  we  have  him  (if  I  may  so  speak)  solemnly  or 
dained  and  set  apart  to  the  prophetical  office  by  a  more 
express  explicit  commission,  as  his  work  grew  more  upon 
his  hands:  or,  perhaps,  having  seen  little  success  of  his 
ministry,  he  began  to  thinJr  of  giving  it  up;  and  there¬ 
fore  God  saw  fit  to  renew  m»  commission  here  in  this 
chapter,  in  such  a  manner  as  might  excite  and  encour¬ 
age  his  zeal  and  industry  in  the  execution  of  if,  though 
he  seemed  to  labour  in  vain.  In  this  chapter,  we  have, 
I.  A  very  awful  vision  which  Isaiah  saw  of  the  glory  of 
God,  (v.  1 .  .4.)  the  terror  it  put  him  into,  (v.  5. )  and  the 
relief  given  him  against  that  terror  by  an  assurance  of 
I  the  pardon  of  his  sins,  v.  6,7.  II.  A  very  awful  com- 


ISAIAH,  VI 


41 


aJssion  which  Isaiah  received  to  go  as  a  prophet,  in  Ciod’s 
name,  (v.  8.)  by  his  preaching  to  harden  the  impenitent 
in  sin,  and  ripen  them  for  ruin;  (v.  9--12.)  yet  with  a 
reservation  ol  mercy  for  a  remnant,  v.  13.  And  it  was 
as  to  an  evangelical  prophet,  that  these  things  were  show¬ 
ed  him,  and  said  to  him. 

IN  the  year  that  king  Uzziah  died  1 
saw  also  the  Lord  sitting  upon  a 
throne,  high  and  lifted  up,  and  his  train  filled 
‘he  temple.  2.  Above  it  stood  the  Sera¬ 
phims:  each  one  had  six  wings;  with  twain 
lie  covered  his  face,  and  with  twain  he  co¬ 
vered  his  feet,  and  with  twain  he  did  fly. 
3.  And  one  cried  unto  another  and  said, 
Holy,  holy,  holy,  is  the  Lord  of  hosts:  the 
whole  earth  is  full  of  his  glory.  4.  And  the 
posts  of  the  door  moved  at  the  voice  of  him 
that  cried,  and  the  house  was  filled  with 
smoke. 

The  vision  which  Isaiah  saw  when  he  was,  as  is 
said  of  Samuel,  established  to  be  a  j iro/ihet  of  the 
Lord,  (1  Sam.  iii.  20.)  was  intended,  1.  To  con¬ 
firm  his  faith,  that  he  might  himself  be  abundantly 
satisfied  of  the  truth  of  those  things  which  should 
afterward  be  made  known  to  him.  Thus  God 
opened  the  communications  of  himself  to  him:  but 
such  visions  needed  not  to  be  afterward  repeated, 
upon  every  revelation.  Thus  God  appeared  at  first 
as  a  God  of  glory  to  Abraham,  (Acts  vii.  2.)  and  to 
Moses,  Exod.  iii.  2.  Ezekiel’s  prophecies,  and  St. 
John’s,  begin  with  visions  of  the  divine  glory.  2. 
To  work  upon  his  affections,  that  lie  might  be  possessed 
of  such  a  reverence  of  God,  as  would  both  quicken 
him,  and  fix  him,  to  his  service.  They  who  are  to 
teach  others  the  knowledge  of  God,  ought  to  be  well 
acquainted  with  him  themselves. 

The  vision  is  dated,  for  the  greater  certainty  of 
it ;  it  was  in  the  year  that  king  Uzziah  died,  who  had 
reigned,  for  the  most  part,  as  prosperously  and  well 
as  any  of  the  kings  of  Judah,  and  reigned  very  long, 
above  fifty  years:  about  the  time  that  he  died,  Isaiah 
saw  this  vision  of  God  upon  a  throne;  for  when  the 
breath  of  princes  goes  forth,  and  they  return  to  their 
earth,  this  is  our  comfort,  that  the  Lord  shall  reign 
for  ever,  Ps.  cxlvi.  3,  4,  10.  Israel’s  king  dies, 
but  Israel’s  God  still  lives.  From  the  mortality  of 
great  and  good  men,  we  should  take  occasion  to  look 
up  with  an  eve  of  faith  to  the  King  eternal,  immor¬ 
tal.  King  Uzziah  died  under  a  cloud,  for  he  was 
shut  up  as  a  leper  till  the  day  of  his  death:  as  the 
live’s  of  princes  have  their  periods,  so  their  glory  is 
often  eclipsed;  but  as  Goa  is  everlasting,  so  his 
glory  is  everlasting.  King  Uzziah  dies  in  a  hospital, 
but  the  King  of  kings  still  sits  upon  his  throne. 

What  the  prophet  here  saw  is  revealed  to  us, 
that  we,  mixing  faith  with  that  revelation,  may  in 
it,  as  in  a  glass,  behold  the  glory  of  the  Lord:  let  us 
turn  aside  therefore,  and  see  this  great  sight  with 
humble  reverence. 

I.  See  God  upon  his  throne,  and  that  throne  high 
and  lifted  up,  not  only  above  other  thrones,  as  it 
transcends  them,  but  over  other  thrones,  as  it  rales 
and  commands  them.  Isaiah  saw  not  Jehovah — 
the  essence  of  God,  (no  man  has  seen  that,  or  can 
see  it,)  but  Adonai — his  dominion ;  he  saw  the  Lord 
Jesus;  so  this  vision  is  explained,  (John  xii.  41.)  that 
Isaiah  now  saw  Christ’s  glory,  and  spake  of  him; 
which  is  an  incontestable  proof  of  the  divinity  of  our 
Saviour.  He  it  is,  who,  when,  after  his  resurrec¬ 
tion,  he  sat  down  on  the  right  hand  of  God,  did  but 
sit  down  where  he  was  before,  John  xvii.  5.  See 
the  rest  of  the  Eternal  Mind;  Isaiah  saw  the  Lord 

Vol.  iv. — F 


sitting,  Ps.  xxix.  10.  Sec  the  sovereignty  rt  the 
Eternal  Monarch;  he  shs  upon  a  thmv  ,  a  throne 
of  glory,  befi  re  which  we  must  worship,  a  throne 
of  government,  under  which  we  must  be  subject, 
and  a  throne  i  f  grace,  to  which  we  may  come  bold 
ly.  This  throne  is  high,  and  lifted  up  above  all  com¬ 
petition  and  contradiction. 

II.  See  his  temple,  his  church  on  earth,  filled 
with  manifestations  of  his  glory.  His  throne  being 
erected  at  the  door  of  the  temple,  (as  princes  sat  in 
judgment  at  the  gates,)  his  train,  the  skirts  of  his 
robes,  filled  the  temple,  the  whole  world;  for  it  is 
all  God’s  temple;  and  as  the  heaven  is  his  throne, 
so  the  earth  is  his  footstool;  or,  rather,  the  church, 
which  is  filled,  enriched,  and  beautified,  with  the 
tokens  of  God’s  special  presence. 

III.  See  the  bright  and  blessed  attendants  on  his 
throne,  in  and  by  whom  his  glory  is  celebrated,  and 
his  government  served;  (r.  2.)  Above  tie  throne, 
as  it  were  hovering  about  it,  or  nigh  to  the  throne, 
bowing  before  it,  with  an  eye  to  it,  the  seraphim 
stood,  the  holy  angels,  who  are  called  seraphim — 
burners;  for  he  makes  his  ministers  a  flaming  fire, 
(Ps.  civ.  4.)  they  burn  in  love  to  God,  and  zeal  for 
his  glory  against  sin,  and  he  makes  use  of  them  as 
instruments  of  his  wrath,  when  he  is  a  consuming 
Fire  to  his  enemies.  Whether  they  were  only  two 
or  four,  or  (as  I  rather  think)  an  innumerable  com¬ 
pany  of  angels,  that  Isaiah  saw,  is  uncertain;  sec 
Dan.  v'li.  10.  Note,  It  is  the  glory  of  the  angels,  tha* 
they  are  seraphim,  have  heat  proportionable  to 
their  light,  have  abundance,  not  only  cf  divine 
knowledge,  but  of  holy  love. 

Special  notice  is  taken  of  their -wings,  (and  of  no 
other  part  of  thc-ir  appearance,)  because  of  the  use 
they  made  of  them;  which  is  designed  for  instruc¬ 
tion  to  us.  They  had  each  of  them  six  wings,  not 
stretched  upward,  (as  those  whom  Ezekiel  saw,  ch. 
i.  11.)  but,  1.  Four  were  made  use  of  for  covering, 
as  the  wings  of  a  fowl,  sitting,  are;  with  the  two 
upper  wings,  next  the  head,  they  covered  their 
faces;  and  with  the  two  1  west  wings  they  covered 
their  feet,  or  lower  parts.  This  bespeaks  their  great 
humility  and  reverence  in  their  attendance  upon 
God,  for  he  is  greatly  feared  in  the  assembly  of  those 
saints,  Ps.  lxxxix.  7.  They  not  only  cover  their 
feet,  those  members  of  the  body  which  are  less  ho 
nourable,  (1  Cor.  xii.  23.)  but  even  their  faces; 
though  angels’  faces,  doubtless,  are  much  fairer 
than  those  of  the  children  of  men,  (Acts  vi.  15.) 
yet,  in  the  presence  of  God,  they  cov  er  them,  be¬ 
cause  they  cannot  bear  the  dazzling  lustre  of  the 
divine  glory,  and  because,  being  conscious  of  an  in¬ 
finite  distance  front  the  divine  perfection,  they  are 
ashamed  to  show  their  faces  before  the  holv  God, 
who  charges  even  his  angels  with  folly,  If  they 
should  offer  to  vie  with  him,  Job  iv.  18.  If  angels 
be  thus  reverent  in  their  attendance  on  God,  with 
what  godly  fear  should  we  approach  his  throne! 
Else  we  do  not  the  will  of  God  as  the  angels  do  it. 
Yet  Moses,  when  he  went  into  the  mount  with  God, 
took  the  vail  from  off  his  face,  2  Cor.  iii.  18.  2. 

Two  were  made  use  of  for  flight;  when  they  are 
sent  on  God’s  errands,  they  fly  swiftly,  (Dan.  ix. 
21.)  more  swiftly  with  their  own  wings  than  if  they 
flew  on  the  wings  of  the  wind.  This  teaches  us  to 
do  the  work  of  God  with  cheerfulness  and  expe  di¬ 
tion.  Do  angels  come  upon  the  wing  fr<  m  heaven 
to  earth,  to  minister  for  our  good,  and  shall  net  we 
soar  upon  the  wing  from  earth  to  heaven,  to  share 
with  them  in  their  glory?  Luke  xx.  36. 

IV.  Hear  the  anthem,  or  srng  cf  praise,  which 
the  angels  sing  to  the  honour  of  him  that  sits  on  the 
throne,  v.  3.  Observe,  1.  How  this  song  was  sung; 
with  zeal  and  fervency  they  cried  aloud;  and  with 
unanimity  they  cried  one  to  another,  or  with  one 
another;  they  sang  alternately,  but  in  concert,  and 


42 


ISAIAH,  VI. 


without  the  least  jarring  voice  to  interrupt  the  har¬ 
mony.  2.  What  the  song  was;  it  is  the  same  with 
that’ which  is  sung  by  the  four  living  creatures, 
Rev.  iv.  8.  Note,  (1.)  Praising  God  always  was, 
and  will  be,  to  eternity,  the  work  of  heaven,  and 
the  constant  employment  of  blessed  spirits  above, 
Ps.  lxxxiv.  4.  (2.)  The  church  above  is  the  same 

in  its  praises;  there  is  no  change  of  times,  or  notes, 
there. 

Two  things  the  seraphim  here  give  God  the 
praise  of; 

[1.]  His  infinite  perfections  in  himself.  Here  is 
one  of  his  most  glorious  titles  praised;  he  is  the 
Lord  of  hosts,  of  their  hosts,  of  all  hosts;  and  one 
of  his  most  glorious  attributes,  his  holiness,  without 
which  his  being  the  Lord  of  hosts,  or,  (as  it  is  in  the 
parallel  place,  Rev.  iv.  8.)  the  Lord  God  Almighty, 
could  not  be,  so  much  as  it  is,  the  matter  of.  our  joy 
and  praise;  for  power,  without  purity  to  guide  it, 
would  be  a  terror  to  mankind.  None  of  all  the  di¬ 
vine  attributes  are  celebrated  in  scripture  so  as  this 
is;  God’s  power  was  spoken  twice,  (Ps.  lxii.  11.) 
but  his  holiness  thrice,  Holy,  holy,  holy.  This  be¬ 
speaks,  First,  The  zeal  and  fervency  of  the  angels, 
in  praising  God;  they  even  want  words  to  express 
themselves,  and  therefore  repeat  the  same  again. 
Secondly,  The  particular  pleasure  they  take  in 
contemplating  the  holiness  of  God;  this  is  a  sub¬ 
ject  they  love  to  dwell  upon,  to  harp  upon,  and  are 
loath  to  leave.  Thirdly,  The  superlative  excel¬ 
lency  of  God’s  holiness  above  that  of  the  purest 
creatures.  He  is  holy,  thrice  holy,  infinitely  holy, 
originally,  perfectly,  and  eternally,  so.  Fourthly, 
It  may  refer  to  the  three  persons  in  the  Godhead, 
Holv  Father,  Holy  Son,  and  Holy  Spirit;  (for  it 
follows,  (x.  8.)  Who  will  go  for  us?)  or,  perhaps, 
to  that  which  was,  and  is,  and  is  to  come;  for  that 
title  of  God’s  honour  is  added  to  this  song,  Rev.  iv.  8. 
Some  make  the  angels  here  to  applaud  the  equity 
of  that  sentence  which  God  was  now  about  to  pro- 
n  mice  upon  the  Jewish  nation.  Herein  he  was, 
and  is,  and  will  be,  holy;  his  ways  are  equal. 

[2.  ]  The  manifestation  of  these  to  the  children 
of  men;  the  earth  is  full  of  his  glory,  of  the  glory 
of  his  power  and  purity;  for  he  is  holy  in  all  his 
works,  Ps.  cxlv.  17.  The  Jews  thought  the  glory 
of  God  should  be  confined  to  their  land;  but  it  is 
here  intimated,  that,  in  gospel-times,  (which  are 
pointed  to  in  this  chapter, )  the  glory  of  God  should 
fill  all  the  earth;  the  glory  of  his  holiness,  which  is 
indeed  the  glory  of  all  his  other  attributes;  this,  then, 
filed  the  temple,  (v.  1.)  but,  in  the  latter  days,  the 
earth  shall  be  full  of  it. 

V.  Observe  the  marks  and  tokens  of  terror  with 
which  the  temple  was  filled,  upon  this  vision  of  the 
divine  glory,  v.  4.  1.  The  house  was  shaken;  not 

only  the  door,  but  even  the  posts  of  the  door,  which 
were  firmly  fixed,  moved  at  the  voice  of  him  that 
cried,  at  the  voice  of  God,  who  called  to  judgment, 
(Ps.  1.  4.)  at  the  voice  of  the  angel,  who  praised 
him.  There  are  voices  in  heaven  sufficient  to  drown 
all  the  noises  of  the  many  waters  in  this  lower  world, 
Ps.  xciii.  3,  4.  This  violent  concussion  of  the  tem¬ 
ple  was  an  indication  of  God’s  wrath  and  displea¬ 
sure  against  the  people  for  their  sins;  it  was  an 
earnest  of  the  destruction  of  it  and  the  city,  by  the 
Babylonians  first,  and  afterwards  by  the  Romans; 
and  it  was  designed  to  strike  an  awe  upon  us.  Shall 
walls  and  posts  tremble  before  God,  and  shall  not 
we  tremble?  2.  The  house  was  darkened;  it  was 
filled  with  smoke,  which  was  as  a  cloud  spread  upon 
the  face  of  his  throne-,  (Job  xxvi.  9.)  we  cannot  take 
a  full  view  of  it,  nor  order  our  speech  concerning  it, 
by  reason  of  darkness.  In  the  temple  above  there 
will  be  no  smoke,  but  every  thing  will  be  seen  clear¬ 
ly;  there  God  dwells  in  light,  here  he  makes  dark- 
ntss  his  pavilion,  2  Chron.  vi.  1. 


5.  Then  said  I,  Wo  is  me  !  for  1  am  un¬ 
done;  because  I  am  a  man  of  unclean  lips, 
and  I  dwell  in  the  midst  of  a  people  of  un¬ 
clean  lips:  for  mine  eyes  have  seen  the 
King,  the  Lord  of  hosts.  6.  Then  tlew  one 
of  the  seraphims  unto  me,  having  a  live  coal 
in  his  hand,  which  he  had  taken  with  the 
tongs  from  off  the  altar;  7.  And  he  laid  it 
upon  my  mouth,  and  said,  Lo,  this  hath 
touched  thy  lips,  and  thine  iniquity  is  taken 
away,  and  thy  sin  purged.  3.  Also  I  heard 
the  voice  of  the  Lord,  saying,  Whom  shall 
I  send,  and  who  trill  go  for  us?  Then  1 
said,  Here  am  I;  send  me. 

Our  curiosity  would  lead  us  to  inquire  further 
concerning  the  seraphim,  their  songs,  and  their  ser¬ 
vices;  but  here  we  leave  them,  and  must  attend  to 
what  passed  between  God  and  his  prophet;  secret 
things  belong  not  to  us,  the  secret  things  of  the 
worfd  of  angels,  but  things  revealed  to  and  by  the 
rophets,  which  concern  the  administration  of  God’s 
ingdom  among  men.  Now  here  we  have, 

I.  The  consternation  that  the  prophet  was  put 
into  by  the  vision  which  he  saw  of  the  glory  of  Gcd; 
(v.  5.)  Then  said  I,  Wo  is  me!  I  should  have  said, 
“  Blessed  art  thou,  who  hast  been  thus  highly  fa¬ 
voured,  highly  honoured,  and  dignified,  for  a  time, 
with  the  privilege  of  those  glorious  beings  that  al¬ 
ways  behold  the  face  of  our  Father.  Blessed  were 
those  eyes  which  saw  the  Lord  sitting  on  his  throne, 
and  those  ears  which  heard  the  angels’ praists.” 
And,  one  would  think,  he  should  have  said,  “  Hap¬ 
py  am  I,  for  ever  happy;  nothing  now  shall  trouble 
me,  nothing  make  me  blush  or  tremble;”  on  the 
contrary,  he  cries  out,  “  Wo  is  me,  for  I  am  u?i- 
done.  Aias  for  me!  I  am  a  gone  man,  I  shall  surely 
die;  (Judges  xiii.  22. — vi.  22.)  I  am  silenced,  I  am 
struck  dumb,  struck  dead.”  Thus  Daniel,  when 
he  heard  the  words  of  the  angel,  became  dumb,  and 
there  was  no  strength,  no  breath,  left  in  him.  Dan. 
x.  15,  17.  Observe, 

1.  What  the  prophet  reflected  upon  in  himself, 
which  terrified  him;  “lam  undone,  if  Gcd  deal 
with  me  in  strict  justice,  for  I  have  made  myself 
obnoxious  to  his  displeasure,  because  I  am  a  man 
of  unclean  lips.”  Some  think  he  refers  particularly 
to  some  rash  word  he  had  spoken,  or  to  his  sinful 
silence  in  not  reproving  sin  with  the  boldness  and 
freedom  that  were  necessary;  a  sin  which  God’s 
ministers  have  too  much  cause  to  charge  themselves 
with,  and  to  blush  at  the  remembrance  of  it.  But 
it  may  be  taken  more  generally;  I  am  a  sinner; 
particularly,  I  have  offended  in  word;  and  who  is 
there  that  does  not?  Jam.  iii.  2.  WTe  all  have  rea¬ 
son  to  bewail  it  before  the  Lord;  (1.)  That  we  are 
of  unclean  lips  ourselves;  our  lips  are  not  consecra¬ 
ted  to  God;  he  has  not  had  the  first-fruits  of  our 
lips,  (Heb.  xiii.  15.)  and  therefore  they  are  counted 
common  and  unclean,  uncircumcised  lips,  Exod.  vi. 
30.  Nay,  they  have  been  polluted  with  sin;  we  have 
spoken  the  language  of  an  unclean  heart;  that  evil 
communication  corrupts  good  manners,  and  thereby 
many  have  been  defiled.  We  are  un worth v  and 
unmeet  to  take  God’s  name  into  our  lips.  With 
what  a  pure  lip  did  the  angels  praise  God !  “  But,” 
says  the  prophet,  “  I  cannot  praise  him  so,  for  I  am 
a  man  of  unclean  lips.”  The  best  men  in  the  world 
have  reason  to  be  ashamed  of  themselves,  and  the 
best  of  their  services,  when  the)-  come  to  compare 
with  the  holy  angels.  The  angels  had  celebrated 
the  purity  and  holiness  of  God;  and  therefore  the 
prophet,  when  he  reflects  upon  sin,  calls  it  unclean- 


43 


ISAIAH,  VI. 


ness;  for  the  sinfulness  of  sin  is  its  contrariety  to  the 
holy  nature  of  God,  and,  upon  that  account,  espe¬ 
cially,  it  should  appear  both  hateful  and  frightful 
to  us.  The  impurity  of  our  lips  ought  to  lie  the 
grief  of  our  souls,  for  by  our  words  we  shall  be  jus¬ 
tified  or  condemned.  (2. )  That  we  dwell  among 
those  who  are  so  too.  We  have  reason  to  lament 
it,  that  not  we  ourselves  only  are  polluted,  but  that 
the  nature  and  race  of  mankind  are  so,  the  disease 
i>  hereditary  and  epidemical;  which  is  so  far  from 
lessening  our  guilt,  that  it  should  rather  increase 
our  grief,  especially  considering  that  we  have  not 
done  what  we  might  have  done  for  the  cleansing  of 
th  ■  pollution  of  other  people’s  lips;  nay,  we  have 
rather  learned  their  way,  and  spoken  their  language, 
as  Joseph  in  Egypt  learned  the  courtier’s  oath, 
Gen.  xlii.  16.  “  I  dwell  in  the  midst  of  a  people, 

who  by  their  impudent  sinnings  are  pulling  down 
desolating  judgments  upon  the  land,  which  I,  who 
am  a  sinner,  too  justly  may  expect  to  be  involved 
in.  ” 

2.  What  gave  occasion  for  these  sad  reflections  at 
this  time;  Mine  eyes  have  seen  the  King,  the  Lord 
of  Hosts.  He  saw  God’s  sovereignty  to  be  incon- 
t  stable,  he  is  the  King;  and  his  power  irresistible, 
he  is  the  Lord  of  hosts:  these  are  comfortable  truths 
to  God’s  people,  and  yet  they  ought  to  strike  an 
awe  upon  us.  Note,  A  believing  sight  of  God’s  glo¬ 
rious  majesty  should  affect  us  all  with  reverence 
and  godly  fear.  We  have  reason  to  be  abased  in 
the  sense  of  that  infinite  distance  that  there  is  be¬ 
twixt  us  and  God,  and  our  own  sinfulness  and  vile¬ 
ness  before  him,  and  to  be  afraid  of  his  displeasure. 
We  are  undone,  if  there  be  not  a  Mediator  between 
us  and  this  holy  God,  1  Sam.  vi.  20.  Isaiah  was 
thus  humbled,  to  prepare  him  for  the  honour  he 
was  now  to  be  called  to  as  a  prophet.  Note,  Those 
are  fittest  to  be  employed  for  God,  who  are  low  in 
their  own  eyes,  and  are  made  deeply  sensible  of 
their  own  weakness  and  un worthiness. 

II.  The  silencing  of  the  prophet’s  fears  by  the 
good  words,  and  comfortable  words,  with  which  the 
angel  answered  him,  v.  6,  7.  One  of  the  seraphim 
immediately  flew  to  him,  to  purify  him,  and  so  to 
pacify  him.  Note,  1.  God  has  strong  consolations 
ready  for  holy  mourners:  they  that  humble  them¬ 
selves  in  penitential  shame  and  fear  shall  soon  be 
encouraged  and  exalted;  they  that  are  struck  down 
with  the  visions  of  God’s  glory,  shall  soon  be  raised 
up  again  with  the  visits  of  his  grace;  he  that  tears 
will  heal.  2.  Angels  are  ministering  spirits  for  the 
good  of  the  saints,  for  their  spiritual  good.  Here 
was  one  of  the  seraphim  dismissed,  for  a  time,  from 
attending  on  the  throne  of  God’s  glory,  to  be  a  mes¬ 
senger  of  his  grace  to  a  good  man ;  and  so  well  pleas¬ 
ed  was  he  with  the  office  that  he  came  flying  to  him. 
To  our  Lord  Jesus  himself,  in  his  agony,  there  ap¬ 
peared  an  angel  from  heaven,  strengthening  him, 
Luke  xxii.  43. 

Here  is,  (1.)  A  comfortable  sign  given  him  of  the 
purging  away  of  his  sin.  The  seraph  brought  a 
live  coal  from  the  altar,  and  touched  his  lips  with 
it ;  not  to  hurt  them,  but  to  heal  them ;  not  to  cau¬ 
terize,  but  to  cleanse  them;  for  there  were  purifica¬ 
tions  by  fire,  as  well  as  by  water,  and  the  filth  of 
Jerusalem  was  purged  by  the  spirit  of  burning,  ch. 
iv.  4.  The  blessed  Spirit  works  as  fire,  Matth.  iii.  1 1. 
The  seraph,  being  himself  kindled  with  a  divine 
fire,  put  life  into  the  prophet,  to  make  him  also 
z  •aiously  affected,  for  the  way  to  purge  the  lips 
from  the  uncleanness  of  sin,  is,  to  fire  the  soul  with 
the  love  of  God.  This  live  coal  was  taken  off  from  the 
altar,  either  the  altar  of  incense,  or  that  of  burnt- 
offerings;  for  they  had  both  of  them  fire  burning  on 
them  continually.  Nothing  is  powerful  to  cleanse 
and  comfort  the  soul,  but  what  is  taken  from 
Christ's  satisfaction,  and  the  intercession  he  ever 


lives  to  make  in  the  virtue  of  that  satisfaction.  It 
must  be  a  coal  from  his  altar,  that  must  put  life 
into  us,  and  be  our  peace;  it  will  not  be  done  with 
strange  fire. 

(2.)  An  explication  of  this  sign;  Lo,  this  has 
touched  thy  lips,  to  assure  thee  of  this,  that  thine 
iniquity  is  taken  away,  and  thy  sin  purged.  The 
guilt  of  thy  sin  is  removed  by  pardoning  mercy,  the 
guilt  of  thy  tongue-sins;  thy  corrupt  disposition  to 
sin  is  removed  by  renewing  grace;  and  therefore  no¬ 
thing  can  hinder  thee  from  being  accepted  with 
God  as  a  worshipper,  in  concert  with  the  holy  an¬ 
gels,  or  from  being  employed  for  God  as  a  messen¬ 
ger  to  the  children  of  men.”  Those  only  who  arc 
thus  purged  from  an  evil  conscience,  are  pixpared 
to  serve  the  living  God,  Heb.  ix.  14.  The  taking 
away  of  sin  is  necessary  to  our  speaking  with  confi¬ 
dence  and  comfort,  either  to  God  in  prayer,  or  from 
God  in  preaching;  nor  are  any  so  fit  to  display  to 
others  the  riches  and  power  of  gospel-grace,  as 
those  who  have  themselves  tasted  the  sweetness, 
and  felt  the  influence  of  that  grace;  and  those  shall 
have  their  sin  taken  away,  who  complain  of  it  as  a 
burthen,  and  see  themselves  in  danger  of  being  un¬ 
done  by  it. 

III.  The  renewing  of  the  prophet’s  mission,  v.  8. 
Here  is  a  communication  between  God  and  Isaiah 
about  this  matter.  Those  that  would  assist  others 
in  their  correspondence  with  God,  must  not  them¬ 
selves  be  strangers  to  it;  for  how  can  we  expect  that 
God  should  speak  by  us,  if  we  never  heard  him 
speaking  to  us,  or  that  we  should  be  accepted  as  the 
mouth  of  others  to  God,  if  we  never  spake  to  him 
heartilv  for  ourselves?  Observe  here, 

1.  The  counsel  of  God  concerning  Isaiah’s  mis¬ 
sion.  God  is  here  brought  in,  after  the  manner  rf 
men,  deliberating  and  advising  with  himself;  Whom 
shall  I  send?  And  who  will  go  for  us?  God  needs 
not  either  to  be  counselled  bv  others,  or  to  consult 
with  himself,  he  knows  what  he  will  do;  but  thus 
he  would  show  us  that  there  is  a  counsel  in  his  whole 
will,  and  teach  us  to  consider  our  ways,  and  parti¬ 
cularly,  that  the  sending  forth  of  ministers  is  a  work 
not  to  be  done  but  upon  mature  deliberation. 

Observe,  (1.)  Who  it  is  that  is  consulting;  it  is 
the  Lord;  God  in  his  glory,  whom  he  saw  upon  the 
throne  high  and  lifted  up.  It  puts  an  honour  upon 
the  ministry,  that,  when  God  would  send  a  prophet 
to  speak  in  his  name,  he  appeared  in  all  the  glories 
of  the  upper  world:  ministers  are  the  ambassadors 
of  the  King  of  kings;  how  mean  soever  the)’  are, 
he  who  sends  them  is  great;  it  is  God  in  three  per¬ 
sons.  Who  will  go  for  us?  As  Gen.  i.  26.  Let  us 
make  man — Father,  Son,  and  Holy  Ghost;  they  all 
concur,  as  in  the  creating,  so  in  the  redeeming,  and 
governing,  of  man.  Ministers  are  ordained  in  the 
same  name  into  which  all  Christians  are  baptized. 
(2.)  What  the  consultation  is;  Whom  shall  I  send? 
And  who  will  go?  Some  think  it  refers  to  the  par¬ 
ticular  message  of  wrath  against  Israel,  v.  9,  10. 
Who  will  be  willing  to  go  on  such  a  melancholy  er¬ 
rand,  on  which  they  will  go  in  the  bitterness  of  their 
souls?  Ezek.  iii.  i4.  But  I  rather  take  it  more 
largely,  for  all  those  messages  which  he  was  intrusted 
to  deliver,  in  God’s  name,  to  that  people,  in  which 
that  hardening  work  was  by  no  means  the  primarv 
intention,  but  a  secondary  effect  of  them,  2  Cor.  ii. 
16.  J  Vhom  shall  I  send?  Intimating  that  the  busi¬ 
ness  was  such  as  required  a  choice  and  well-accom¬ 
plished  messenger,  Jer.  xlix.  19.  God  now  appear¬ 
ed,  attended  with  holy  angels,  and  yet  asks,  IVhor. 
shall  I  send?  For  he  would  send  them  a  prophet 
from  among  their  brethren,  Heb.  ii.  5.  Note,  [1.  ] 
It  is  the  unspeakable  favour  of  God  to  us,  that  he  it 
pleased  to  send  us  his  mind  by  men  like  ourselves, 
whose  terror  shall  not  make  us  afraid,  and  who  :.n 
themselves  concerned  in  the  messages  they  bring 


44 


ISAIAH,  VI. 


They  are  workers  together  with  God,  who  are  sin-  j 
ners  and  sufferers  together  with  us.  [2.  ]  It  is  a  rare 
Ting  to  find  one  who  is  fit  to  go  tor  God,  and  to 
carry  his  messages  to  the  children  of  men;  Whom 
shall  I  send?  Who  is  sufficient?  Such  a  degree  of 
courage  for  God,  and  concern  for  the  souls  of  men, 
as  is  necessary  to  make  a  man  faithful,  and  withal  | 
such  an  insight  into  the  mysteries  of  the  kingdom  of 
heaven,  as  is  necessary  to  make  a  man  skilful,  are 
seldom  to  be  met  with'.  Such  an  interpreter  of  the 
mind  of  God  is  one  of  a  thousand,  Job  xxxiii.  23. 
[3.]  None  are  allowed  to  go  for  God  but  those  who 
are  sent  by  him ;  he  will  own  none  but  those  whom 
he  appoints,  Rom.  x.  15.  It  is  Christ’s  work  to  put 
men  into  the  ministry,  1  Tim.  i.  12. 

2.  Tire  consent  of  Isaiah  to  it;  Then  said  I,  Here 
am  I,  send  me.  He  was  to  go  on  a  melancholy  er¬ 
rand;  the  office  seemed  to  go  a  begging,  and  every 
body  declined  it,  and  yet  Isaiah  offered  himself  to 
the  service.  It  is  an  honour  to  be  singular  in  appear¬ 
ing  for  God,  Judges  v.  7.  We  must  not  say,  “I 
would  go,  if  I  thought  I  should  have  good  success;” 
but,  “T  will  go,  and  leave  the  success  to  God;  here 
am  I,  send  me.”  Isaiah  had  been  himself  in  a  me¬ 
lancholy  frame,  (v.  5.)  full  of  doubts  and  fears;  but 
now  that  he  had  the  assurance  of  the  pardon  of  his 
sin,  the  clouds  were  blown  over,  and  he  was  fit  for 
service,  and  forward  to  it.  What  he  says  bespeaks, 
(1.)  His  readiness;  “  Here  am  1;  a  volunteer,  not 
pressed  into  the  service. ”  Behold  me;  so  the  word 
is.  God  says  to  us.  Behold  me,  ( ch .  lxv.  1.)  and, 
Here  I  am,  \ch.  lviii.  9.)  even  before  we  call;  let 
us  say  so  to  him  when  he  does  call.  (2.)  His  reso¬ 
lution;  “Here  lam,  ready  to  encounter  the  greatest 
difficulties.  I  have  set  my  face  as  a  Jlint.”  Com¬ 
pare  this  with  ch.  1.  4—7.  (3.)  His  referring  him¬ 

self  to  God;  “Send  me  whither  thou  wilt;  make 
what  use  thou  pleasest  of  me.  Send  me;  Lord,  give 
me  commission  and  full  instruction;  send  me,  and 
then,  no  doubt,  thou  wilt  stand  by  me.”  It  is  a 
great  comfort  to  those  whom  God  sends,  that  they 
go  f  r  God,  and  may  therefore  speak  in  his  name, 
as  having  authority;  and  be  assured  that  he  will 
bear  them  out. 

9.  And  he  said,  Go,  and  tell  this  people, 
Hear  ye  indeed,  hut  understand  not ;  and 
see  ye  indeed,  but  perceive  not.  1 0.  Make 
the  heart  of  this  people  fat,  and  make  their 
ears  heavy,  and  shut  their  eyes;  lest  they 
see  with  their  eyes,  and  hear  with  their  ears, 
and  understand  with  their  heart,  and  con¬ 
vert,  and  be  healed.  11.  Then  said  I,  Lord, 
how  long  l  And  he  answered,  Until  the  ci¬ 
ties  be  wasted  without  inhabitant,  and  the 
houses  without  man,  and  the  land  be  utterly 
desolate;  12.  And  the  Lord  have  removed 
men  far  away,  and  there  be  a  great  forsaking 
in  the  midst  of  the  land.  13.  But  yet  in  it 
shall  be  a  tenth,  and  it  shall  return,  and 
shall  be  eaten  :  as  a  teil-tree,  and  as  an  oak, 
w  hose  substance  is  in  them  when  they  cast 
their  leaves ,  so  the  holy  seed  shall  be  the 
substance  thereof. 

God  takes  Isaiah  at  his  word,  and  here  sends  him 
on  a  strange  errand — to  foretell  the  ruin  of  his  peo¬ 
ple,  and  even  to  ripen  them  for  that  ruin;  to  preach 
Oiat  which,  by  their  abuse  of  it,  would  be  to  them 
a  savour  of  death  unto  death.  And  this  was  to  be 
a  type  and  figure  of  the  state  of  the  Jewish  church 
ii.  *-1)0  days  of  the  Messian.  when  they  should  obsti 


nately  reject  the  gospel,  and  should,  thereupon,  be 
rejected  of  God.  These  verses  are  quoted  in  part, 
or  referred  to,  six  times  in  the  New  Testament; 
which  intimates,  that,  in  gospel-times,  these  spirit¬ 
ual  judgments  would  be  most  frequently  inflicted; 
and  though  they  make  the  least  noise,  and  come 
not  with  observation,  yet  they  are  of  all  other  the 
most  dreadful. 

Isaiah  is  here  given  to  understand  these  four 
things: 

1.  That  the  generality  of  the  people  to  whom  he 
was  sent,  would  turn  a  deaf  ear  to  his  preaching, 
and  wilfully  shut  their  eyes  against  all  the  discove¬ 
ries  of  the  mind  and  will  of  God  he  had  to  make  to 
them;  (v.  9.)  “Go,  and  tell  this  people,  this  foolish 
wretched  people,  tell  them  their  own,  tell  them 
how  stupid  and  sottish  they  are.”  Isaiah  must 
preach  to  them,  and  they  will  hear  him  indeed,  but 
that  is  all;  they  will  not  heed  him,  they  will  not  un¬ 
derstand  him,  thev  will  not  take  any  pains,  nor  use 
that  application  of  mind  which  is  necessary  to  the 
understanding  of  him;  they  are  prejudiced  against 
that  which  is  the  true  intent  and  meaning  of  what 
he  says,  and  therefore  they  will  not  understand  him, 
or  pretend  they  do  not.  They  see  indeed;  (for  the 
vision  is  made  plain  on  tables,  so  that  he  who  runs 
may  read  it;)  but  they  perceive  not  their  own  con¬ 
cern  in  it;  it  is  to  them  as  a  tale  that  is  told.  Note, 
There  are  many  who  hear  the  sound  of  God’s  word, 
but  do  not  feel  the  power  of  it. 

2.  That  forasmuch  as  they  would  not  be  made 
better  by  his  ministry,  they  should  be  made  worse 
by  it;  they  that  were  wilfully  blind,  should  be  judi¬ 
cially  blinded;  (x>.  10.)  “  They  will  not  understand 
or  perceive  thee,  and  therefore  thou  shalt  be  instru¬ 
mental  to  make  their  heart  fat,  senseless,  and  sen¬ 
sual,  and  so  to  make  their  ears  yet  more  heavy,  and 
to  shut  their  eyes  the  closer;  so  that,  at  length,  their 
recovery  and  repentance  will  become  utterly  impos¬ 
sible;  they  shall  no  more  see  with  their  eyes  the 
danger  they  are  in,  the  ruin  they  are  upon  the  brink 
of,  or  the  way  of  escape  from  it;  they  shall  no  more 
hear  with  their  ears  the  warnings  and  instructions 
that  are  given  them,  nor  understand  with  their 
heart  the  things  that  belong  to  their  peace,  so  as  to 
be  converted  from  the  error  of  their  ways,  and  thus 
be  healed.”  Note,  (1.)  The  conversion  of  sinners 
is  the  healing  of  them.  (2.)  A  right  understanding 
is  necessary  to  conversion.  (3.)  God,  sometimes, 
in  a  way  of  righteous  judgment,  gives  men  up  to 
blindness  of  mind  and  strong  delusions,  because  they 
would  not  receive  the  truth  in  the  love  of  it,  2 
Tliess.  ii.  11,  12.  He  that  is  filthy,  let  him  be  filthy 
still.  (4.)  Even  the  word  of  God  oftentimes  proves 
a  means  of  doing  this.  The  evangelical  prophet 
himself  makes  the  heart  of  this  people  fat,  not  only 
as  he  foretells  it,  passing  this  sentence  upon  them,  in 
God’s  name,  and  seals  them  under  it,  but  as  his 
preaching  had  a  tendency  to  it,  rocking  some  asleep 
in  security,  to  whom  it  was  a  lovely  song,  and  mak¬ 
ing  others  more  outrageous,  to  whom  it  was  such 
a  reproach,  that  they  were  not  able  to  bear  it.  Seme 
looked  upon  the  word  as  a  privilege,  and  their  con¬ 
victions  were  smothered  by  it;  (Jer.  vii.  4.)  others 
looked  upon  it  as  a  provocation,  and  their  corrup¬ 
tions  were  exasperated  by  it. 

3.  That  the  consequence  of  this  would  be  their 
utter  ruin,  v.  11,  12.  The  prophet  had  nothing  to 
object  against  the  justice  of  this  sentence,  nor  does 
he  refuse  to  go  upon  such  an  errand,  but  asks, 
“Lord,  horn  long?”  (an  abrupt  question;)  “Shall 
it  always  be  thus?  Must  I  and  other  prophets  al¬ 
ways  labour  in  vain  among  them,  and  will  things 
never  be  better?”  Or,  (as  should  seem  by  the  an¬ 
swer,)  “  Lord,  what  will  it  come  to  at  last?  What 
will  be  in  the  end  hereof?”  In  answer  to  which,  he 
was  told  that  it  should  issue  in  the  final  destruction 


46 


ISA  t AH,  VII. 


of  the  Jewish  church  find  nation.  When  the  word  ■ 
of  God,  especially  the  word  of  the  gospel,  has  been 
thus  abused  by  them,  they  shall  be  unchurched, 
and,  consequently,  undone.  Their  cities  shall  be 
uninhabited,  and  their  country-houses  too;  the  land 
shall  be  untilled,  desolate  with  desolation,  as  it  is  in 
the  margin;  the  people  who  should  replenish  the 
h  uses  and  cultivate  the  ground,  being  all  cut  off  by 
sw  rd,  famine,  or  pestilence,  and  those  who  escape 
with  their  lives  being  removed  far  away  into  cap¬ 
tivity,  so  that  there  shall  bea  great  and  general  for- 
s  iking  in  the  midst  of  the  land;  that  populous  coun- 
trv  sh  ill  become  desert,  and  that  glory  of  all  lands 
sh  11  be  abandoned.  Note,  Spiritual  judgments  often 
bring  temporal  judgments  along  with  them  upon 
pel  s  ns  and  places.  This  was  in  part  fulfilled  in  ! 
the  destruction  of  Jerusalem  by  the  Chaldeans, 
when  the  land,  being  left  desolate,  enjoyed  her  sab¬ 
baths  seventy  years;  but  the  foregoing  predictions 
being  so  expressly  applied  in  the  New  Testament 
to  the  Jews  in  our  Saviour’s  time,  doubtless  this 
points  at  the  destruction  of  that  people  by  the  Ho¬ 
mans,  in  which  it  had  a  complete  accomplishment; 
and  tlie  effects  of  it  that  people  and  that  land  remain 
under  to  this  day. 

4.  That  yet  a  remnant  should  be  reserved  to  be 
the  monuments  of  mercy,  v.  13.  This  was  so  in 
the  last  destruction  of  the  Jewish  nation;  (Rom.  xi. 
5.)  sit  this  1 iresent  time  there  is  a  remnant;  for  so 
it  was  written  here,  But  in  it  shall  be  a  tenth,  a  cer-  I 
tain  number,  but  a  very  small  number,  in  compari¬ 
son  with  the  multitude  that  shall  perish  in  their  un¬ 
belief;  it  is  that  which  under  the  law,  was  God’s 
proportion;  thev  shall  be  consecrated  to  God  as  the 
tithes  were,  and  shall  be  for  his  service  and  honour. 
Concerning  this  tithe,  this  saved  remnant,  we  are 
here  told,  (1.)  That  they  shall  return,  ( ch .  vii.  3. 
— x.  21.)  shall  return  from  sin  to  God  and  duty; 
shall  return  out  of  captivity  to  their  own  land.  God 
will  turn  them  and  they  shall  be  turned.  (2. )  That 
they  shall  be  eaten,  shall  be  accepted  of  God,  as  the 
tithe  was,  which  was  meat  in  God’s  house,  Mai.  iii. 
10.  The  saving  of  this  remnant  shall  be  meat  to 
the  faith  and  hope  of  those  that  wish  well  to  God’s 
kingdom.  (3.)  That  they  shall  be  like  a  timber- 
tree  in  winter,  which  has  life,  though  it  has  no 
leaves;  as  a  teil-tree,  and  as  an  oak,  whose  sub¬ 
stance  is  in  them,  even  then  when  they  cast  their 
leaves:  so  this  remnant,  though  they  may  be  stript 
of  their  outward  prosperity,  and  share  with  others 
in  common  calamities,  yet  they  shall  recover  them¬ 
selves  as  a  tree  in  the  spring,  and  flourish  again; 
though  they  fall,  they  shall  not  be  utterly  cast  down: 
there  is  hope  of  a  tree,  though  it  be  cut  down,  that 
it  will  sprout  again.  Job  xiv.  7.  (4. )  That  this  dis¬ 

tinguished  remnant  shall  be  the  stay  and  support  of 
the  public  interests:  the  holy  seed  in  the  soul  is  the 
substance  of  the  man;  a  principle  of  grace,  reign¬ 
ing  in  the  heart,  will  keep  life  there;  he  that  is 
born  of  God,  has  his  seed  remaining  in  him,  1  John 
iii.  9.  So  the  holy  seed  in  the  land  is  the  substance 
of  the  land,  keeps  it  from  being  quite  dissolved,  and 
bears  up  the  pillars  of  it,  Ps.  lxxv.  3.  See  ch.  i.  9. 
Some  read  the  foregoing  clause  with  this,  thus:  sis 
the  support  at  Shallecheth  is  in  the  elms  and  the 
oaks,  so  the  holy  seed  is  the  substance  thereof;  as  the 
trees  that  grow  on  either  side  of  the  causey  (the 
raised  way,  or  terrace-walk,  that  leads  from  the 
king’s  palace  to  the  temple,  (1  Kings  x.  5.)  at  the 
gate  of  Shallecheth,  1  Chron.  xxvi.  16.)  support 
the  causey  by  keeping  up  the  earth,  which  would 
otherwise  be  crumbling  away;  so  the  small  residue 
of  religious,  serious,  praying,  people,  are  the  sup¬ 
port  of  the  state,  and  help  to  keep  things  together, 
and  save  them  from  going  to  decay.  Some  make 
the  holy  seed  to  be  Christ;  the  Jewish  nation  was 
therefore  saved  from  utter  ruin,  because  out  of  it, 


as  concerning  the  flesh,  Christ  was  to  come,  Rom. 
ix.  5.  Destroy  it  not,  for  that  Blessing  is  in  it;  ■(•.-,. 
Ixv.  8.)  and  when  that  blessing  was  ci.inv,  it  was 
soon  destroyed.  Now  the  consideration  <  f  this  is 
designed  for  the  support  of  the  prophet  in  his  work. 
Though  far  the  greater  part  should  perish  in  their 
unbelief,  yet  to  some  his  word  should  be  a  savi  ur 
of  life  unto  life.  Ministers  do  not  wholly  lose  their 
labour,  if  they  be  but  instrumental  to  save  one  poor 
soul. 

CHAP.  VII. 

This  Chapter  is  an  occasional  sermon,  in  which  the  pro 
phet.  sings  both  of  mercy  and  judgment  to  those  that  did 
not  perceive  or  understand  either;  he  piped  unto  them, 
but  they  danced  not;  mourned  unto  them,  but  they  wep 
not.  Here  is,  I.  The  consternation  that.  Ahaz  was  i 
upon  an  attempt  upon  the  confederate  forces  of  Syria 
and  Israel  against  Jerusalem,  v.  1,2.  II.  The  assurance 
which  God,  by  the  prophet,  sent  him  for  his  encourage¬ 
ment,  that  the  attempt  should"  be  defeated,  and  Jerusa¬ 
lem  should  be  preserved,  v.  3.  .9.  III.  The  confirma¬ 
tion  of  this  by  a  sign  which  God  gave  to  Ahaz,  when  he 
refused  to  ask  one,  referring  to  Christ,  and  our  redemp¬ 
tion  by  him,  v.  10.  .  16.  IV.  A  threatening  of  the  great 
desolation  that  God  would  bring  upon  Ahaz  and  his  king¬ 
dom  by  the  Assyrians,  notwithstanding  their  escape  from 
this  present  storm,  because  they  went  on  still  in  their 
wickedness,  v.  17.  .  25.  And  this  is  written  both  for  our 
comfort  and  for  our  admonition. 

1.  4  ND  it  came  to  pass  in  the  clays  of 
Ahaz,  the  son  of  Jotham,  the  son  of 
Uzziah  king  of  Judah,  that  Rezin  the  kin? 
of  Syria,  and  Pekah  the  son  of  Remaliah, 
king  of  Israel,  went  up  towards  Jerusalem 
to  war  against  it,  but  could  not  prevail 
against  it.  2.  And  it  was  told  the  house  cl 
David,  saying,  Syria  is  confederated  with 
Ephraim:  and  his  heart  was  moved,  and 
the  heart  of  his  people,  as  the  trees  of  the 
wood  are  moved  with  the  wind.  3.  Then 
said  the  Lord  unto  Isaiah,  Go  forth  now  !o 
meet  Ahaz,  thou  and  Shear-jashub  thy  son. 
at  the  end  of  the  conduit  of  the  upper  pool, 
in  the  highway  of  the  fuller’s  field;  4.  And 
say  unto  him,  Take  heed,  and  be  quiet;  fear 
not,  neither  be  faint-hearted,  for  the  two 
tails  of  these  smoking  firebrands,  for  (he 
fierce  anger  of  Rezin  with  Syria,  and  of 
the  son  of  Remaliah.  5.  Recause  Syria, 
Ephraim,  and  the  son  of  Remaliah,  have 
taken  evil  counsel  against  thee,  saying,  6. 
Let  us  go  up  against  Judah  and  vex  it,  and 
let  us  make  a  breach  therein  for  us,  and  set 
a  king  in  the  midst  of  it,  even  the  son  of 
Tabeal:  7.  Thus  saith  the  Lord  God,  It 
shall  not  stand,  neither  shall  it  come  to  pass. 
3.  For  the  head  of  Syria  is  Damascus,  and 
the  head  of  Damascus  is  Rezin ;  and  with¬ 
in  threescore  and  five  years  shall  Ephraim 
be  broken,  that  it  be  not  a  people.  9.  And 
the  head  of  Ephraim  is  Samaria,  and  the 
head  of  Samaria  is  Remaliah’s  son.  If  ye 
will  not  believe,  surely  ye  shall  not  he  es¬ 
tablished. 

The  prophet  Isaiah  had  his  commission  renewed 
in  the  year  that  king  Uzziah  died,  ch.  vi.  1.  Jotham 
I  his  son  reigned,  and  reigned  well  sixteen  years:  a1 


46 


ISAIAH,  Vll. 


that  time,  no  doubt,  Isaiah  prophesied  as  he  was 
commanded,  and  yet  we  have  not  in  this  book  any 
of  his  prophecies  dated  in  the  reign  of  Jotham;  but 
this  which  is  put  first,  was  in  the  days  of  Ahaz 
-he  son  of  Jotham.  Many  excellent  useful  sermons 
he  preached,  which  were  not  left  and  published 
upon  record;  for  if  all  that  was  memorable  had  been 
written,  the  world  could  not  have  contained  the 
books,  John  xxi.  25.  Perhaps  in  the  reign  of  Ahaz, 
a  wicked  king,  he  had  not  opportunity  to  preach 
so  much  at  court  as  in  Jotham’s  time,  and  therefore 
then  hetvrofethe  more,  fora  testimony  against  them. 

Here  is,  $ 

I.  A  very  formidable  design  laid  against  Jerusa¬ 
lem  by  Rezin  king  of  Syria,  and  Pekah  king  of  Is¬ 
rael,  two  neighbouring  potentates,  who  had  of  late 
made  descents  upon  Judah  severally;  at  the  end  of 
the  reign  of  Jotham,  the  Lord  began  to  send  against 
Judah,  Rezin  and  Pekah,  2  Kings  xv.  37.  But  now, 
in  the  second  or  third  year  of  the  reign  of  Ahaz, 
encouraged  by  their  former  successes,  they  entered 
.ntoan  alliance  against  Judah;  because  Ahaz,  though 
he  found  the  sword  over  his  head,  began  his  reign 
with  idolatry,  God  delivered  him  into  the  hand  of 
the  king  of  Syria  and  of  the  king  of  Israel,  (2 
Chron.  xxviii.  5.)  and  a  great  slaughter  they  made 
in  his  kingdom;  ( v .  6,  7.)  flushed  with  this  victory, 
they7  went  up  toward  Jerusalem,  the  royal  city,  to 
war  against  it,  to  besiege  it,  and  make  themselves 
masters  of  it;  but  it  proved,  in  the  issue,  that  they 
could  not  gain  their  point.  Note,  The  sin  of  a  lancl 
brings  foreign  invasion  upon  it,  and  betrays  the 
most  advantageous  posts  and  passes  to  the  enemy. 
And  God  sometimes  makes  one  wicked  nation  a 
scourge  to  another;  but  judgment  ordinarily  begins 
at  the  house  of  God. 

II.  The  great  distress  that  Ahaz  and  his  court 
were  in,  when  they  received  advice  of  this  design; 
It  was  told  the  house  of  David  that  Syria  and 
Ephraim  had  signed  a  league  against  Judah,  v.  2. 
This  degenerate  royal  family  is  called  the  house  of 
David,  to  put  us  in  mind  of  that  article  of  God’s 
covenant  with  David,  If  his  children  forsake  my 
law ,  I  will  chasten  their  transgression  with  the  rod; 
but  my  loving-kindness  will  I  not  utterly  take  away; 
which  is  remarkably  fulfilled  in  this  chapter,  P’s. 
lxxxix.  30.  News  being  brought  that  the  two  ar¬ 
mies  of  Syria  and  Israel  were  joined,  and  had  taken 
the  field,  the  court,  the  city,  and  the  country,  were 
thrown  into  consternation:  the  heart  of  Ahaz  was 
moved  with  fear,  and  then  no  wonder  that  the  heart 
of  his  fleofile  was  so,  as  the  trees  of  the  wood  are 
moved  with  the  wind;  they  were  tossed  and  shaken, 
and  put  into  a  great  disorder  and  confusion,  were  wa¬ 
vering  and  uncertain  in  their  counsels,  hurried  hither 
and  thither,  and  could  not  fix  in  any  steady  resolu¬ 
tion;  they  yielded  to  the  storm,  and  gave  up  all  for 
gone,  concluding  it  in  vain  to  make  any  resistance. 
Now  that  which  caused  this  fright,  was,  the  sense 
of  guilt,  and  the  weakness  of  their  faith:  they  had 
made  God  their  Enemy,  and  knew  not  how  to  make 
him  their  Friend,  and  therefore  their  fears  tyran¬ 
nized  over  them ;  while  those  whose  consciences  are 
kept  void  of  offence,  and  whose  hearts  are  fixed, 
trusting  in  God,  need  not  be  afraid  of  evil  tidings; 
though  the  earth  be  removed,  yet  will  not  they  fear; 
but  the  wicked  flee  at  the  shaking  of  a  leaf.  Lev. 
xxvi.  36. 

III.  The  orders  and  directions  given  to  Isaiah  to 
go  and  encourage  Ahaz  in  his  distress;  not  for  his 
own  sake,  (he  deserved  to  hear  nothing  from  God 
but  words  of  terror,  which  might  add  affliction  to 
his  grief,)  but  because  he  was  a  son  of  David,  and 
king  of  Judah.  God  had  kindness  for  him  for  his 
father’s  sake,  who  must  not  be  forgotten,  and  fer  his 
pec, pie’s  sake,  who  must  not  be  abandoned,  but 
would  be  encouraged  if  Ahaz  were.  Observe, 


1.  God  appointed  the  prophet  to  meet  Ahaz, 
though  he  did  not  send  to  the  prophet  to  speak  with 
him,  nor  desire  him  to  inquire  of  the  Lord  for  him; 
(v.  3.)  Go  to  meet  Ahaz.  Note,  God  is  often  found 
of  those  who  seek  him  not,  much  more  will  he  be 
found  of  those  who  seek  him  diligently;  he  speaks 
comfort  to  many  who  not  only  are  not  worthy  of  it, 
but  do  not  so  much  as  inquire  after  it. 

2.  He  ordered  him  to  take  his  little  son  with  him. 
because  he  carried  a  sermon  in  his  name,  Shear 
jashub — i  remnant  shall  return.  The  prophets 
sometimes  recorded  what  they  preached,  in  the 
significant  names  of  their  children,  (as  Hrs.  i.  4,  6, 
9.)  therefore  Isaiah’s  children  are  said  to  be  for 
signs,  ch.  viii.  18.  This  son  was  so  called,  for  the 
encouragement  of  those  of  God’s  people  who  were 
carried  captive,  assuring  them  that  they  should  re¬ 
turn,  at  least  a  remnant  of  them,  which  is  more 
than  we  can  pretend  to  merit:  yet,  at  this  time,  God 
was  better  than  his  word;  for  he  took  care  not  only 
that  a  remnant  should  return,  but  the  whole  num¬ 
ber  of  those  whom  the  confederate  forces  of  Syria 
and  Israel  had  taken  prisoners,  2  Chron.  xxviii.  15. 

3.  He  directed  him  where  he  should  find  Ahaz; 

he  was  to  meet  with  him  not  in  the  temple,  or  the 
synagogue,  or  royal  chapel,  but  at  the  end  of  the 
conduit  of  the  upper  fiool,  where  he  was,  probably, 
with  many  of  his  servants  about  him,  contriving 
how  to  order  the  water-works,  so  as  to  secure  them 
to  the  city,  or  deprive  the  enemy  of  the  benefit  of 
them,  (c/;.  xxii.  9,  11.  2  Chron.  xxxii.  3,  4.)  or 

giving  some  necessary  directions  for  the  fortifying 
of  the  city  as  well  as  they  could;  and  perhaps  find¬ 
ing  every  thing  in  a  very  bad  posture  of  defence, 
the  conduit  out  of  repair,  as  well  as  other  things 
gone  to  decay,  his  fears  increased,  and  he  was  now 
in  greater  perplexity  than  ever;  therefore,  Go  meet 
him  there.  Note,  God  sometimes  sends  comforts  to 
his  people  very  seasonably,  and,  what  time  they  are 
most  afraid,  encourages  them  to  trust  in  him. 

4.  He  put  words  in  his  mouth,  else  the  prophet 
would  not  have  known  how  to  bring  a  message  of 
good  to  such  a  bad  man,  a  sinner  in  Zion,  that 
ought  to  be  afraid;  but  God  intended  it  for  the  sup¬ 
port  of  faithful  Israelites. 

(1.)  The  prophet  must  rebuke  their  fears,  and  ad¬ 
vise  them  by  no  means  to  yield  to  them,  but  keep 
their  temper,  and  preserve  the  possession  of  their 
own  souls;  (u.  4.)  Take  heed,  ana  be  quiet.  Note, 
In  order  to  comfort,  there  is  need  of  caution;  that 
we  may  be  quiet,  it  is  necessary  that  we  take  heed 
and  watch  against  those  things  that  threaten  to  dis¬ 
quiet  us.  “Fear  not  with  this  amazement,  this 
fear,  that  weakens,  and  has  torment;  neither  let  thy 
heart  be  tender,  so  as  to  melt  and  fail  within  thee; 
but  pluck  up  thy  spirits,  have  a  good  heart  on  it, 
and  be  courageous;  let  not  fear  betray  the  succours 
which  reason  and  religion  offer  for  thy  support.” 
Note,  Those  who  expert  God  should  help  them, 
must  help  themselves,  Ps.  xxvii.  14. 

(2.)  He  must  teach  them  to  despise  their  enemies, 
not  in  pride,  or  security,  or  incogitancy,  (nothing 
more  dangerous  than  so  to  despise  an  enemy,)  but 
in  faith  and  dependence  upon  God.  Ahaz’s  fear 
called  them  two  powerful  politic  princes,  for  either 
of  which  he  was  an  unequal  match;  but  if  united, 
he  durst  not  look  them  in  the  face,  or  make  head 
against  them.  “  No,”  says  the  prophet,  “they  are 
two  tails  of  smoking  firebrands;  they  are  angry, 
they  are  fierce,  they  are  furious,  as  firebrands,  as 
fireballs;  and  they  make  one  another  worse  by- 
being  in  a  confederacy,  as  sticks  of  fire,  put  to¬ 
gether,  burn  the  more  violently:  but  they  are  only 
smoking  firebrands;  and  where  there  is  smoke  there 
is  some  fire,  but  it  mav  not  be  so  much  as  was  fear¬ 
ed;  their  threatening  will  vanish  into  smoke;  Pha 
raoh  king  of  F.gupt  is  but  a  noise,  (Jer.  xlvi.  17.) 


ISAIAH.  VII 


47 


and  Rezinking  of  Syria  but  a  smoke;  (and  such  are 
all  the-enemies  of  God’s  church,  smoking  fax,  that 
.vill  soon  be  quenched;)  nay,  they  are  but  tails  of 
sm  'king  firebrands,  in  a  manner  burnt  out  already; 
their  force  is  spent,  they  have  consumed  themselves 
with  the  heat  of  their  own  anger,  you  may  put  your 
foot  on  them,  and  tread  them  out.”  The  two  king¬ 
doms  of  Syria  and  Israel  were  now  near  expiring. 
Note,  The  more  we  have  an  eye  to  God  as  a  con¬ 
suming  Fire,  the  less  reason  we  shall  have  to  fear 
men,  though  they  are  ever  so  furious,  nay,  we  shall 
be  able  to  despise  them  as  smoking  firebrands. 

(3.)  He  must  assure  them  that  the  present  design 
of  these  High  allies  (so  they  thought  themselves) 
against  Jerusalem,  should  certainly  be  defeated,  and 
come  to  nothing,  v.  5 — 7. 

[1.]  That  very  thing  which  Ahaz  thought  most 
formidable,  is  made  the  ground  of  their  defeat — and 
that  was  the  depth  of  their  designs  and  the  height 
of  their  hopes;  “  Therefore  they  shall  be  baffled 
and  sent  back  with  shame,  because  they  have  taken 
evil  counsel  against  thee,  which  is  an  offence  to  God; 
these  firebrands  are  a  smoke  in  his  nose,  (ch.  lxv.  5. ) 
and  therefore  must  be  extinguished.  ”  First,  They 
are  very  spiteful  and  malicious,  and  therefore  they 
shall  not  prosper.  Judah  had  done  them  no  wrong, 
they  had  no  pretence  to  quarrel  with  Ahaz;  but, 
without  any  reason,  Let  us  go  ufi  against  Judah, 
and  vex  it.  Note,  Those  that  are  vexatious,  can¬ 
not  expect  to  be  prosperous;  they  say.  Those  that 
love  to  do  mischief,  cannot  expect  to  do  well.  Se¬ 
condly,  They  are  very  secure,  and  confident  of  suc¬ 
cess;  they  will  vex  Judah  by  going  up  against  it; 
vet  that  is  not  all,  they  do  not  doubt  but  to  make  a 
breach  in  the  wall  of  Jerusalem,  wide  enough  for 
them  to  march  their  army  in  at;  or  they  count  upon 
dissecting  or  dividing  the  kingdom  into  two  parts, 
one  for  the  king  of  Israel,  the  other  for  the  king  of 
Syria,  who  had  agreed  in  one  viceroy;  a  king  to  be 
set  in  the  midst  of  it,  even  the  son  of  Tabeal;  some 
obscure  person;  it  is  uncertain  whether  a  Syrian  or 
an  Israelite:  so  sure  were  they  of  gaining  their 
point,  that  they  divided  the  prey  before  they  had 
caught  it.  Note,  Those  that  are  most  scornful,  are 
commonly  less  successful,  for  surely'  God  scorns  the 
scorners. 

[2.]  God  himself  gives  them  his  word  that  the 
attempt  should  not  take  effect;  (v.  7.)  Thus  saith 
the  Lord  God,  the  sovereign  Lord  of  all,  who  brings 
the  counsel  of  the  heathen  to  nought,  Ps.  xxxiii.  10. 
He  saith,  “  It  shall  not  stand,  neither  shall  come  to 
hass:  their  measures  shall  all  be  broken,  and  thev 
shall  not  be  able  to  bring  to  pass  their  enterprise.” 
Note,  whatever  stands  against  God,  or  thinks  to 
stand  without  him,  cannot  stand  long.  Man  pur¬ 
poses,  but  God  disposes;  and  who  is  he  that  saith, 
and  it  cometh  to  pass,  if  the  Lord  command  it  not, 
or  countermand  it?  Lam.  iii.  37.  SeeProv.  xix.  21. 

(4.)  He  must  give  them  a  prospect  of  the  de¬ 
struction  of  these  enemies,  at  last,  that  were  now 
such  a  terror  to  them.  [1.]  They  should  neither 
of  them  enlarge  their  dominions,  nor  push  their 
conquests  any  further.  The  head  city  of  Syria  is  Da¬ 
mascus,  and  the  head  man  of  Damascus  is  Rezin; 
this  he  glories  in,  and  this  let  him  be  content  with, 
v.  8.  The  head  city  of  Ephraim  has  long  been 
Samaria,  and  the  head  man  in  Samaria  is  now 
Pekah  the  son  of  Remaliah;  these  shall  be  made  to 
know  their  own,  their  bounds  are  fixed,  and  they 
shall  not  pass  them,  to  make  themselves  masters  of 
the  cities  of  Judah,  much  less  to  make  Jerusalem 
their  prey.  Note,  As  God  has  appointed  men  the 
bounds  of  their  habitation, (Acts  xvii.  26.)  so  he  has 
appointed  princes  the  bounds  of  their  dominion, 
within  which  they  ought  to  confine  themselves,  and 
not  encroach  upon  their  neighbours’  rights.  (2.) 
Ephraim,  which  perhaps  was  the  more  malicious 


and  forward  enemy  ot  me  two,  should  shortly  ne 
quite  rooted  out,  and  should  be  so  far  from  seizing 
other  people’s  lands,  that  they  should  not  be  able  to 
hold  their  own.  Interpreters  are  much  at  a  loss 
how  to  contemplate  the  sixty -five  years  within 
which  Ephraim  shall  cease  to  be  a  people ;  for  the 
captivity  of  the  ten  tribes  was  but  eleven  years  after 
this;  and  some  make  it  a  mistake  of  the  transcri¬ 
ber,  and  think  it  should  be  read,  within  six  and 
five  years,  just  eleven.  But  it  is  hard  to  allow  that. 
Others  make  it  to  be  sixty-five  years  from  the  time 
that  the  prophet  Amos  first  foretold  the  ruin  of 
the  kingdom  of  the  ten  tribes:  and  some  late  inter¬ 
preters  make  it  to  look  as  far  forward  as  the  last 
desolation  of  that  country  by  Esarhaddon,  which 
was  about  sixty-five  years  after  this;  then  Ephraim 
was  so  broken,  that  it  was  no  more  a  people.  Now 
it  was  the  greatest  folly  in  the  world  fer  them  to 
be  ruining  their  neighbours,  who  were  themselves 
marked  for  ruin,  and  so  near  to  it.  See  what  a  pro¬ 
phet  told  them  at  this  time,  when  they  were  tri¬ 
umphing  over  Judah,  (2  Cbron.  xxviii.  10.)  .Ire 
there  not  with  you,  even  with  you,  sins  against  the 
Lord  your  God? 

(5.)  He  must  urge  them  to  mix  faith  with  those  as¬ 
surances  which  he  had  given  them;  (u.  9.)  “If  ye 
will  not  believe  what  is  said  to  you,  surely  ye  shall 
not  be  established;  your  shaken  and  disordered  state 
shall  not  be  established,  your  unquiet  unsettled 
spirit  shall  not;  though  the  things  told  you  are  very 
encouraging,  yet  they  will  not  be  so  to  you,  unless 
you  believe  them,  and  be  willing  to  take  God’s 
word.”  Note,  The  grace  of  faith  is  absolutely  ne¬ 
cessary  to  the  quieting  and  composing  of  the  mind 
in  the  midst  of  all  the  tosses  of  this  present  time, 
2  Chron.  xx.  20. 

10.  Moreover,  the  Lord  spake  again 
unto  Ahaz,  saying,  11.  Ask  thee  a  sign 
of  the  Lord  thy  God:  ask  it  either  in  the 
depth,  or  in  the  height  above.  1 2.  But 
Ahaz  said,  I  will  not  ask,  neither  will  I 
tempt  the  Lord  13.  And  he  said.  Hear 
ye  now,  O  house  of  David;  Is  it  a  small 
thing  for  you  to  weary  men,  but  will  ye 
weary  my  God  also  ?  1 4.  Therefore  the 
Lord  himself  shall  give  you  a  sign :  Behold, 
a  Virgin  shall  conceive,  and  bear  a  son, 
and  shall  call  his  name  Immanuel.  15. 
Butter  and  honey  shall  he  eat,  that  he  may 
know  to  refuse  the  evil  and  choose  the  good: 
16.  For  before  the  child  shall  know  to  re¬ 
fuse  the  evil,  and  choose  the  good,  the  land 
that  thou  abhorrest  shall  be  forsaken  of 
both  her  kings. 

Here, 

I.  God,  by  tbe  prophet,  mokes  a  gracious  offer 
to  Ahaz,  to  confirm  the  foregoing  predictions,  and 
his  faith  in  them,  by  such  sign  or  miracle  as  he 
should  choose;  (v.  10,  11.)  Ask  thee  a  sign  of  the 
Lord  thy  God.  See  here  the  divine  faithfulness 
and  veracity;  God  tells  us  nothing  but  what  he  is 
able  and  ready  to  prove.  See  his  wonderful  conde¬ 
scension  to  the  children  of  men,  in  that  he  is  so 
willing  to  show  to  the  heirs  of  promise  the  immuta¬ 
bility  of  his  counsel,  Heb.  vi.  17.  He  considers  our 
frame,  and  that,  living  in  a  world  of  sense,  we  are 
apt  to  require  sensible  proofs,  which  therefore  he 
has  favoured  us  with  in  sacramental  signs  and  seals. 
Ahaz  was  a  bad  man,  yet  God  is  called  the  Lord 
his  God,  because  he  was  a  child  of  Abraham  and 
II  David,  and  cf  the  covenants  made  with  them.  See 


48 


rSAIAH,  VTI. 


now  gracious  God  is  even  to  the  evil  and  unthank¬ 
ful;  Ahaz  is  bid  to  choose  his  sign,  as  Gideon  about 
the  fleece;  (Judg.  vi.  37.)  let  him  ask  for  a  sign 
either  in  the  air,  or  earth,  or  water,  for  God’s  power 
is  the  same  in  each. 

II.  Ahaz  rudely  refuses  this  gracious  offer,  and 
(which  is  not  mannerly  towards  any  superior)  kicks 
at  the  courtesy,  and  puts  a  slight  upon  it;  ( v .  12.) 
I  will  not  ask.  The  true  reason  why  he  would  not 
ask  for  a  sign,  was,  because,  having  a  dependence 
upon  the  Assyrians,  their  forces,  and  their  gods,  for 
help,  he  would  not  thus  far  be  beholden  to  the  God 
of  Israel,  or  lay  himself  under  obligations  to  him. 
He  would  not  ask  a  sign  for  the  confirming  of  his 
faith,  because  he  resolved  to  persist  in  his  unbelief, 
and  would  indulge  his  doubts  and  distrusts;  yet  he 
pretends  a  pious  reason,  I  will  not  tomtit  the  Lord; 
as  if  it  would  be  a  tempting  of  God  to  do  that  which 
God  himself  invited  and  directed  him  to  do.  Note, 
A  secret  disaffection  to  God  is  often  disguised  with 
the  specious  colours  of  respect  to  him;  and  those 
who  are  resolved  that  they  will  not  trust  God,  yet 
pretend  that  they  will  not  tempt  him. 

III.  The  prophet  reproves  him  and  his  court, 
him  and  the  house  of  David,  the  whole  royal  family, 
for  their  contempt  of  prophecy,  and  the  little  value 
they  had  for  divine  revelation;  (v.  13.)  “Is  it  a 
small  thing  for  you  to  weary  men  by  your  oppres¬ 
sion  and  tyranny,  with  which  you  make  yourselves 
burthensome  and  odious  to  all  mankind?  But  will 
you  weary  my  God  also,  with  the  affronts  you  put 
upon  him?”  As  the  unjust  judge  that  neitheryhererf 
God  nor  regarded  man,  Luke  xviii.  2.  Ye  have 
wearied  the  Lord  with  your  words,  Mai.  ii.  17. 
Nothing  is  more  grievous  to  the  God  of  heaven  than 
to  be  distrusted;  “  Will  ye  weary  my  God?  Will 
ye  suppose  him  to  he  tired  and  unable  to  help  you, 
or  to  be  weary  of  doing  you  good?  Whereas  the 
youths  may  faint  and  be  weary,  you  may  have  tired 
all  your  friends,  the  Creator  of  the  ends  of  the  earth 
faints  not,  neither  is  weary,”  ch.  xl.  30,  31.  Or 
thus;  in  affronting  the  prophets,  you  think  you  put 
a  slight  only  upon  men  like  yourselves,  and  consider 
not  that  you  affront  God  himself,  whose  messengers 
they  are,  and  put  a  slight  upon  him,  who  will  resent 
it  accordingly.  The  prophet  here  calls  God  his 
God,  with  a  great  deal  of  pleasure;  Ahaz  would  not 
say,  He  is  my  God,  though  the  prophet  had  invited 
him  to  say  so,  (v.  11.)  The  Lord  thy  God;  but 
Isaiah  will  say,  “He  is  mine.”  Note,  Whatever 
others  do,  we  must  avouch  the  Lord  for  ours,  and 
abide  by  him. 

IV.  The  prophet,  in  God’s  name,  gives  them  a 
sign;  “  You  will  not  ask  a  sign,  but  the  unbelief  of 
man  shall  not  make  the  promise  of  God  of  no  effect; 
The  Lord  himself  shall  give  you  a  sign,  (v.  14.)  a 
double  sign:” 

1.  “  A  sign  in  general  of  his  good-will  to  Israel 
and  to  the  house  of  David;  you  may  conclude  that 
he  has  mercy  in  store  for  you,  and  that  you  are  not 
forsaken  of  your  God,  how  great  soever  your  pre¬ 
sent  distress  and  danger  are;  for  of  your  nation,  of 
your  family,  the  Messiah  is  to  be  born,  and  you 
cannot  be  destroyed  while  that  Blessing  is  in  you; 
which  shall  be  introduced,”  (1.)  “In  a  glorious 
manner;  for  whereas  you  have  been  often  told  that 
he  should  be  born  among  you,  I  am  now  further  to 
tell  you  that  he  shall  be  born  of  a  virgin;  which  will 
signify  both  the  divine  power  and  the  divine  purity 
with  which  he  shall  be  brought  into  the  world;  that 
he  shall  be  an  extraordinary  person,  for  he  shall  not 
be  born  by  ordinary  generation,  and  that  he  shall  he 
a  holy  thing,  not  stained  with  the  common  pollu¬ 
tions  of  the  human  nature,  therefore  incontestably 
fit  to  have  the  throne  of  his  father  David  given 
him.”  Now  this,  though  it  was  to  be  accomplished 
above  500  years  after,  was  a  most  encouraging  sign 


to  the  house  of  D avid,  (and  to  them,  under  tnat 
title,  this  prophecy  is  directed,  r.  13.)  and  an  assu¬ 
rance  that  God  would  not  cast  them  <  ff.  Ephraim 
did  indeed  envy  Judah,  (ch.  xii.  13.)  end  s<  light  the 
min  of  that  kingdom,  but  could  not  prevail,  for  the 
sceptre  should  never  depart  from  Judah  till  the 
coming  of  Shiloh,  Gen.  xlix.  10.  Those  whom  God 
designs  for  the  great  salvation,  may  take  that  for  a 
sign  to  them,  that  they  shall  ni  t  be  swallowed  up  by 
any  trouble  they  may  meet  with  in  the  way.  (2.) 
The  Messiah  shall  be  introduced  on  a  glorious  er¬ 
rand,  wrapped  up  in  his  glorious  name;  they  shall 
call  his  name  Immanuel — God  with  us,  God-in  our 
nature,  God  at  peace  with  us,  in  covenant  with  us. 
This  was  fulfilled  in  their  calling  him  Jesus — a  Sa¬ 
viour;  (M  itth.  i.  21 — 23.)  for  if  he  had  not  been 
Immanuel — God  with  us,  he  could  not  have  been 
Jesus — a  Saviour.  Now  this  was  a  further  sign  of 
God’s  favour  to  the  house  of  David  and  the  tribe 
of  Judah;  for  he  that  intended  to  work  this  great 
salvation  among  them,  no  doubt  would  work  out  for 
them  all  those  other  salvations  which  were  to  be  the 
types  and  figures  of  this,  and  as  it  were  preludes  to 
this.  “  Here  is  a  sign  for  you,  not  in  the  depth,  or 
in  the  height,  but  in  the  prophecy,  in  the  promise, 
in  the  covenant  made  with  David,  which  you  are 
no  strangers  to;  the  promised  Seed  shall  be  Im¬ 
manuel,  God  with  us;  let  that  word  comfort  you, 
(ch.  viii.  10.)  God  is  with  us,  and  (v.  8.)  that  your 
land  is  Immanuel’s  land.  Let  not  the  heart  of  the 
house  of  David  be  moved  thus,  (v.  2.)  nor  let  Judah 
fear  the  setting  up  of  the  son  of  Tabea],  (v.  6.)  for 
nothing  can  cut  off  the  entail  on  the  Son  of  David 
that  shall  be  Immanuel.”  Note,  The  strongest  con¬ 
solations,  in  time  of  trouble,  are  those  which  are 
borrowed  from  Christ,  our  relation  to  him,  our  inte¬ 
rest  in  him,  and  our  expectations  of  him  and  from 
him. 

Of  this  Child  it  is  further  foretold,  (v.  15.)  that 
though  he  shall  not  be  born  like  other  children,  but 
of  a  virgin,  yet  he  shall  be  really  and  truly  man,  and 
shall  be  nursed  and  brought  up  like  other  children; 
Butter  and  honey  shall  he  eat,  as  other  children  do, 
particularly  the  children  of  that  land  which  flowed 
with  milk  and  honey.  Though  he  he  conceived  by 
the  power  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  yet  he  shall  not  there¬ 
fore  be  fed  with  angels’  food,  but,  as  it  becomes 
him,  shall  be  in  all  things  made  like  unto  his  bre¬ 
thren,  Heh.  ii.  17.  Nor  shall  he,  though  horn  thus 
by  extraordinary  generation,  be  a  man  immediately, 
but,  as  ether  children,  shall  ntLance  gradually 
through  the  several  states  of  infancy,  childhood 
and  youth,  to  that  of  manhood,  and,  growing  in 
wisdom  and  stature,  shall  at  length  wax  strong  in 
spirit,  and  come  to  maturity,  so  as  to  know  how  to 
refuse  the  evil  and  choose  the  good.  See  Luke  ii. 
40,  52.  Note,  Children  are  fed  when  they  are 
little,  that  they  may  be  taught  and  instructed  when 
they  are  grown  up;  they  have  their  maintenance 
in  order  to  their  education. 

2.  Here  is  another  sign  in  particular  of  the  speed j 
destruction  of  these  potent  princes  that  were  now  a 
terror  to  Judah,  v.  16.  “Before  this  child;”  so  it 
should  be  read;  “this  child  which  I  have  now  in 
my  arms,”  (he  means  not  Immanuel,  but  Shear-ja- 
slmb  his  own  son,  whom  he  was  ordered  to  takt 
with  him  for  a  sign,  v.  3.)  “before  this  'child  shah 
know  how  to  refuse  the  evil  and  choose  the  good,” 
(and  those  who'  saw  what  his  present  stature  and 
forwardness  were,  would  easily  conjecture  how  long 
that  would  be,)  “  before  this  child  will  be  three  or 
four  years  older,  the  land  that  thou  abhorrest,  these 
confederate  forces  of  Israelites  and  Syrians,  whom 
thou  hast  such  an  enmity  to,  and  standest  in  such 
dread  of,  shall  be  forsaken  of  both  their  kings,  both 
Pekah  and  Rezin;”  who  were  in  so  close  an  alli¬ 
ance,  that  they  seemed  as  if  they  were  the  kings 


ISAIAH.  VII. 


49 


b'lt  of  one  kingdom.  This  was  fully  accomplished, 
for  within  two  or  three  years  after  this,  Hosea  con¬ 
spired  ag  linst  Pekah,  and  slew  him,  (2  Kings  xv. 
30.1  and  before  that,  the  king  of  Assyria  took  Da¬ 
mascus,  and  slew  Rezin,  2  Kings  xvi.  9.  Nay, 
there  was  a  present  event,  which  happened  imme¬ 
diately,  and  which  this  child  carried  the  prediction 
of  in  his  name,  which  was  a  pledge  and  earnest  of 
•  his  further  event.  Shear-jashub  signifies,  The 
remnant  shall  return,  which  doubtless  points  at  the 
wonderful  return  of  those  200,000  captives  which 
Pekah  and  Rezin  had  carried  away,  who  were 
brought  back,  not  by  might  or  power,  but  by  the 
Spirit  of  the  Lord  of  hosts.  Read  the  story,  2 
Chron.  xxviii.  8 — 15.  The  prophetical  naming  of 
this  child  having  thus  had  its  accomplishment,  no 
doubt  this,  which  was  further  added  concerning 
him,  should  have  its  accomplishment  likewise,  that 
Syria  and  Israel  should  be  deprived  of  both  their 
kings.  One  mercy  from  God  encourages  us  to  hope 
for  another,  if  it  engages  us  to  prepare  for  another. 

1 7.  The  Lord  shall  bring  upon  thee,  and 
upon  thy  people,  and  upon  thy  father’s 
house,  days  that  have  not  come,  from  the 
day  that  Ephraim  departed  from  Judah; 
even  the  King  of  Assyria.  1 8.  And  it  shall 
come  to  pass  in  that  day,  that  the  Lord 
shall  hiss  for  the  fly  that  is  in  the  uttermost 
part  of  the  rivers  of  Egypt,  and  for  t  he  -bee 
that  is  in  the  land  of  Assyria:  19.  And  they 
shall  come,  and  shall  rest  all  of  them  in  the 
desolate  valleys,  and  in  the  holes  of  the 
rocks,  and  upon  all  thorns,  and  upon  all 
bushes.  20.  In  the  same  day  shall  the  Lord 
shave  with  a  razor  that  is  hired,  namely ,  by 
them  beyond  the  river,  by  the  king  of  As¬ 
syria,  the  head,  and  the  hair  of  the  feet: 
and  it  shall  also  consume  the  beard.  21. 
And  it  shall  come  to  pass  in  that  day,  that 
a  man  shall  nourish  a  young  cow  and  two 
sheep :  22.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass,  for 

the  abundance  of  milk  that  they  shall  give, 
he  shall  eat  butter:  for  butter  and  honey 
shall  every  one  eat  that  is  left  in  the  land. 
23.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass  in  that  day, 
that  every  place  shall  be,  where  there  were 
i  thousand  vines  at  a  thousand  silverlings, 
.t  shall  even  be  for  briers  and  thorns.  24. 
With  arrows  and  with  bows  shall  men 
come  thither;  because  all  the  land  shall 
become  briers  and  thorns.  25.  And  on  all 
hills  that  shall  be  digged  with  the  mattock, 
there  shall  not  come  thither  the  fear  of 
briers  and  thorns:  but  it  shall  be  for  the 
sending  forth  of  oxen,  and  for  the  treading 
of  lesser  cattle. 

After  the  comfortable  promises  made  to  Ahaz  as 
a  branch  of  the  house  of  David,  here  follow  terrible 
threatenings  against  him,  as  a  degenerate  branch 
of  that  house;  for  though  the  loving-kindness  of 
(rod  shall  not  be  utterly  taken  awav,  for  the  sake 
pf  David  and  the  covenant  made  with  him,  yet  his 
iniquity  shall  be  chastened  with  the  rod,  and  his  sin 
with  stripes.  Let  those  that  will  not  mix  faith  with 
the  promises  of  God,  expect  to  hear  the  alarms  of 
his  threatenings. 

Vol  .iv. — G 


!  1.  The  judgment  threatened  is  very  great,  u.  ir 

It  is  very  great,  for  it  is  general;  it  shall  be  bieughi 
upon  the  prince  himself,  (high  as  he  is,  he  shall  not 
be  out  of  the  reach  of  it,)  and  upon  the  people,  the 
whole  body  of  the  nation,  and  upon  the  royal  family, 
u/ton  all  thy  father’s  house;  it  shall  be  a  judgmen* 
entailed  on  posterity,  and  shall  go  along  with  the 
royal  blood.  It  is  very  great,  for  it  shall  be  unpre¬ 
cedented,  days  that  have  not  come;  so  dark,  so 
gloomy,  so  melancholy,  as  never  were  the  like  since 
the  revolt  of  the  ten  tribes,  when  Ephraim  departed 
from  Judah,  which  was  indeed  a  sad  time  to  the 
house  of  David.  Note,  The  longer  men  c<  ntinue 
in  sin,  the  sorer  punishments  they  have  reason  to 
expect:  it  is  the  Lord  that  will  bring  these  days 
upon  them,  for  our  times  are  in  his  hand;  and  who 
can  resist  or  escape  the  judgments  he  brings? 

II.  I  he  enemy  that  should  be  employed  as  the 
instrument  of  this  judgment,  is  the  king  of  Assyria. 
Ahaz  reposed  strong  confidence  in  that  prince  for 
help  against  the  confederate  powers  of  Israel  and 
Syria,  and  minded  the  less  what  God  said  to  him  by 
his  prophet  for  his  encouragement,  because  he  built 
much  upon  his  interest  in  the  king  of  Assyria,  and 
had  meanly  promised  to  be  his  servant,  if  he  would 
send  him  some  succours;  he  had  also  made  him  a 
present  of  gold  and  silver,  for  which  he  drained  the 
treasures  both  of  church  and  state,  2  Kings  xvi.  7, 
8.  Now  God  threatens  that  that  king  of  Assvria, 
whom  he  made  his  stay  instead  of  God,  should  be¬ 
come  a  scourge  to  him.  He  was  so  speedily;  for 
when  he  catne  to  him,  he  distressed  hint,  but 
strengthened  him  not:  the  reed  not  only  brake  un¬ 
der  him,  but  ran  into  his  hand,  and  pierced  it,  (2 
Chron.  xxviii.  20.)  and  from  thenceforward  the 
kings  of  Assyria  were,  for  a  long  time,  grieving 
thorns  to  Judah,  and  gave  them  a  great  deal  of 
trouble.  Note,  The  creature  that  we  make  eur 
hope,  commonly  proves  cur  hurt:  the  king  of  As¬ 
syria,  not  long  after  this,  made  himself  master  if 
the  ten  tribes,  carried  them  captive,  and  laid  their 
country  waste,  so  as  fully  to  answer  the  prediction 
here;  and  perhaps  it  may  refer  to  that,  as  an  expli¬ 
cation  of  v.  8.  where  it  is  foretold  that  Ephraim 
shall  be  broken,  that  it  shall  not  be  a  people;  and  it 
is  easy  to  suppose  that  the  prophet,  at  v.  17.  turns 
his  speech  to  the  king  of  Israel,  denouncing  God’s 
judgments  against  him  for  invading  Judah.  But  the 
expositors  universally  understand' it  of  Ahaz  and 
his  kingdom.  Now  observe, 

1.  Summons  given  to  the  invaders;  (y.  18.)  The 
Lord  shall  whistle  for  the  fy  and  the  bee:  See  ch. 
v.  26.  Enemies  that  seem  as  contemptible  as  a  fly 
or  a  bee,  and  are  as  easily  crushed;  yet,  when  God 
pleases,  they  shall  do  his  work  as  effectually  as 
lions  and  young  lions.  Though  they  are  as  far  dis¬ 
tant  from  one  another  as  the  rivers  of  Egypt  end 
the  land  of  Assyria,  yet  they  shall  punctually  met  t 
to  join  in  this  work,  when  God  commands  their  at¬ 
tendance;  for  when  God  has  work  to  do,  he  will  not 
be  at  a  loss  for  instruments  to  do  it  with. 

2.  Possession  taken  by  them,  v.  19.  It  should 
seem  as  if  the  country  were  in  no  condition  to  make 
resistance;  they  find  no  difficulties  in  forcing  their 
way,  but  come  and  rest  all  of  them  in  the  desolate 
valleys,  which  the  inhabitants  had  deserted,  upon 
the  first  alarm,  and  left  them  a  cheap  and  easy  prey 
to  the  invaders:  they  shall  come  and  rest  in  the  low 
grounds  like  swarms  of  flies  and  bees,  and  shall  ren¬ 
der  themselves  impregnable  by  taking  shelter  in  the 
holes  of  the  rocks,  as  bees  often  do;  and  show  them¬ 
selves  formidable  by  appearing  openlv  upon  all 
thorns  and  all  bushes;  so  generally  shall  the  find  be 
overspread  with  them.  These  bees  shall  knit  upon 
the  thorns  and  bushes,  and  there  rest  undisturbed. 

3.  Great  desolations  made,  and  the  country  ge¬ 
nerally  depopulated;  (x>.  20.  The  Lord  shall' have 


ISAIAH,  VIII. 


5'.) 

the  hair  of  the  head,  and  beard,  and  feet;  he  shall 
sweep  all  away,  as  the  leper,  when  he  was  cleansed, 
shaved  off  all  his  hair,  Lev.  xiv.  8,  9.  This  is  done 
with  a  razor  which  is  hired;  which  God  has  hired, 
as  if  he  had  none  of  his  own;  but  what  he  hires,  and 
whom  he  employs  in  any  service  for  him,  he  will 
^iv  for:  see  Ezek.  xxix".  18,  19.  Or  which  Ahaz 
has  hired  for  his  assistance.  God  will  make  that 
to  be  an  instrument  of  his  destruction,  which  he 
nired  into  his  service.  Note,  Many  are  beaten  with 
that  arm  of  flesh  which  they  trusted  to  rather  than 
to  the  arm  of  the  Lord,  and  which  they  were  at  a 
great  expense  upon;  when  by  faith  and  prayer  they 
might  have  found  cheap  and  easy  succour  in  God. 

4.  The  consequences  of  this  general  depopulation: 

(1.)  The  flocks  of  cattle  shall  be  all  destroyed;  so 
that  a  man  who  had  herds  and  flocks  in  abundance, 
shall  be  stripped  of  them  all  by  the  enemy,  and  shall 
with  much  ado  save  for  his  own  use  a  young  cow 
and  two  sheep;  a  poor  stock,  (v.  21.)  yet  he  shall 
think  himself  happy  in  having  any  left. 

(2.)  The  few  cattle  that  are  left,  shall  have  such 
a  large  compass  of  ground  to  feed  in,  that  they  shall 
give  abundance  of  milk,  and  very  good  milk,  such 
as  shall  produce  butter  enough,  v.  22.  There  shall 
also  be  such  want  of  men,  that  the  milk  of  one  cow 
and  two  sheep  shall  serve  a  whole  family,  which 
used  to  keep  abundance  of  servants,  and  consume  a 
great  deal,  but  is  now  reduced. 

(3.)  The  breed  of  cattle  shall  be  destroyed;  so 
that  they  who  used  to  eat  flesh,  (as  the  Jews  com¬ 
monly  did,)  shall  be  necessitated  to  confine  them¬ 
selves  to  butter  and  honey;  for  there  shall  bene  flesh 
for  them,  and  the  country  shall  be  so  depopulated, 
that  there  shall  be  butter  and  honey  enough  for  the 
few  that  are  left  in  it. 

(4.)  Good  land,  that  used  to  be  let  well,  shall  be 
all  overrun  with  briers  and  thorns;  (t>.  23.)  where 
there  used  to  be  a  thousand  vines  planted,  for  which 
the  tenants  used  to  pay  a  thousand  shekels,  or  pie¬ 
ces  of  silver,  yearly  rent,  there  shall  be  nothing  now 
but  briers  and  thorns,  no  profit  either  for  landlord 
or  tenant;  all  being  laid  waste  by  the  army  of  the 
invaders.  Note,  God  can  soon  turn  a  fruitful  land 
into  barrenness;  and  it  is  just  with  him  to  turn  vines 
nto  briers,  if  we,  instead  of  bringing  forth  grapes 
to  him,  bring  forth  wild  grapes,  ch.  v.  4. 

(5. )  The  instruments  of  husbandry  shall  be  turned 
into  instruments  of  war,  v.  24.  The  whole  land 
teing  become  briers  and  thorns,  the  grounds  that 
men  used  to  come  to  with  sickles  and  pruning-hooks 
to  gather  in  the  fruits,  they  shall  now  come  to  with 
arrows  and  bows,  either  to  hunt  for  wild  beasts  in 
the  thickets,  or  to  defend  themselves  from  the  rob¬ 
bers,  that  lurk  in  the  bushes  seeking  for  prey,  or  to 
kill  the  serpents  and  venomous  beasts  that  are  hid 
there.  This  bespeaks  a  very  sad  change  of  the  face 
of  that  pleasant  land.  But  what  melancholy  change 
is  there,  which  sin  will  not  make  with  a  people? 

(6.)  There  where  briers  and  thorns  were  wont  to 
be  of  use,  and  to  do  good  service,  even  in  the  hedges, 
for  the  defence  of  the  enclosed  grounds,  they  shall 
be  plucked  up,  and  all  laid  in  common.  There 
shall  be  briers  and  thorns  in  abundance,  there  where 
they  should  not  be,  but  none  where  there  should  be, 
v.  25.  The  hills  that  shall  be  digged  with  the  mat¬ 
tock,  for  special  use,  from  which  the  cattle  used  to 
be  kept  off  with  the  fear  of  briers  and  thorns,  shall 
now  be  thrown  open;  the  hedges  broken  down  for 
the  boar  out  of  the  wood  to  waste  it,  Ps.  lxxx.  12, 
13.  It  shall  be  left  at  large  for  oxen  to  run  in,  and 
lesser  cattle. 

Seethe  effect  of  sin  and  the  curse;  it  has  made 
the  earth  a  forest  of  thorns  and  thistles,  except  as  it 
is  forced  into  some  order  by  the  constant  care  and  la¬ 
bour  of  man:  ahd  see  what  folly  it  is  to  set  our  hearts 
upon  possession  of  lands,  be  they  ever  so  fruitful. 


|  ever  so  pleasant;  it  they  lie  ever  so  little  neglected 
and  uncultivated,  or  if  they  be  abused  by  a  wastefu’ 
careless  heir  or  tenant,  or  the  ccuntrv  be  laid  waste 
by  war,  they  will  soon  become  frightful  deserts. 
Heaven  is  a  paradise  not  subject  to  such  changes. 

CHAP.  VIII. 

This  chapter,  and  the  four  next  that  follow  it,  (to  ch.  13.} 
are  all  one  continued  discourse  or  sermon;  the  scope  ot 
which  is,  to  show  the  great  destruction  that  should  now 
shortly  be  brought  upon  the  kingdom  of  Israel,  and  the 
great  disturbance  that  should  be  given  to  the  kingdom 
of  Judah  by  the  king  of  Assyria,  and  that  both  were  for 
their  sins;  but  rich  provision  is  made  of  comfort  for  those 
that  fear  God,  in  those  dark  times,  referring  especially 
to  the  days  of  the  Messiah.  In  this  chapter  we  have,  1. 
A  prophecy  of  the  destruction  of  the  confederate  king¬ 
doms  of  Syria  and  Israel  by  the  king  of  Assyria,  v.  1  .  .  4. 
II.  Of  the  desolations  that  should  be  made  by  that  proud, 
victorious  prince,  in  the  land  of  Israel  and  Judan,  v. 
5  . .  8.  III.  Great  encouragement  given  to  the  people  of 
God  in  the  midst  of  those  destructions;  they  are  assured, 
1.  That  the  enemies  shall  not  gain  their  point  against 
them,  v.  9,  10.  2.  That  if  they  kept  up  the  fear  of  God, 

and  kept  down  the  fear  of  man,  they  should  find  God 
their  Refuge,  (v.  11 .  .  14.)  and,  while  others  stumbled, 
and  fell  into  despair,  they  should  be  enabled  to  wait  on 
God,  and  should  see  themselves  reserved  for  better  times, 
v.  15. .  18.  Lastly ,  he  gives  a  necessary  caution  to  all, 
at  their  peril,  not  to  consult  with  familiar  spirits,  for 
they  would  thereby  throw  themselves  into  despair,  but 
to  keep  close  to  the  word  of  God,  v.  19  . .  22.  And  these 
counsels,  and  these  comforts,  will  still  be  of  use  to  us  in 
time  of  trouble. 

1.  %/TOREOVER  the  Lord  said  unto 
■I?  A  me,  Take  thee  a  great  roll,  and 
write  in  it  with  a  man’s  pen  concerning 
Maher-shalal-hash-baz.  2.  And  I  took  unto 
me  faithful  witnesses  to  record,  Uriah  the 
priest,  and  Zechariah  the  son  of  Jebere- 
chiah.  3.  And  I  went  unto  the  prophetess; 
and  she  conceived  and  bare  a  son.  Then 
said  the  Lord  tome,  Call  his  name  Maher- 
shalal-hash-baz:  4.  For  before  the  child 
shall  have  knowledge  to  cry,  My  father,  and 
My  mother,  the  riches  of  Damascus,  and  the 
spoil  of  Samaria  shall  be  taken  away  before 
the  king  of  Assyria.  5.  The  Lord  spake 
also  unto  me  again,  saying,  6.  Forasmuch 
as  this  people  refuseth  the  waters  of  Shiloah 
that  go  softly,  and  rejoice  in  Rezin  and  Re- 
maliah’s  son :  7.  Now  therefore,  behold, 

the  Lord  bringeth  up  upon  them  the  wa¬ 
ters  of  the  river,  strong  and  many,  even  the 
king  of  Assyria,  and  all  his  glory:  and  he 
shall  come  up  over  all  his  channels,  and  go 
over  all  his  banks:  8.  And  he  shall  pass 
through  .ludah;  he  shall  overflow  and  go 
over;  he  shall  reach  even  to  the  neck:  and 
the  stretching  out  of  his  wings  shall  fill  the 
breadth  of  thy  land,  O  Immanuel. 

In  these  verses  we  have  a  prophecy  of  the  suc¬ 
cesses  of  the  king  of  Assyria  against  Damascus, 
Samaria,  and  Judah;  that  the  two  former  should  be 
laid  waste  by  him,  and  the  last  greatly  frightened. 
Here  we  have, 

I.  Orders  given  to  the  prophet  to  write  this  pro 
phecy,  and  publish  it  to  be  seen  and  read  of  all  men, 
and  to  leave  it  upon  record,  that  when  the  thine 
came  to  pass,  they  might  know  that  God  had  sen' 
him;  for  that  was  one  end  of  the  prophecy,  John 
xiv.  29.  He  must  take  a  great  roll,  which  would 


61 


ISAIAH,  VTII. 


contain  those  five  chapters,  fairly  written  in  words 
at  length;  he  must  write  in  it  all  that  he  had  fore¬ 
told  concerning  the  king  of  Assyria’s  invading  the 
country;  he  must  write  it  with  a  man’s  pen,  in  the 
usual  way  and  style  of  writing,  so  as  that  it  might 
be  legible  and  intelligible  by  all.  See  Hab.  ii.  2. 
Write  the  vision  and  make  it  plain.  They  that 
speak  and  write  of  tne  tilings  of  God,  should  avoid 
obscurity,  and  study  to  speak  and  write  so  as  to  be 
understood,  1.  Cor.  xiv.  19.  They  that  write  for 
men,  should  write  with  a  man’s  pen,  and  not  covet 
the  pen  or  tongue  of  angels.  And,  forasmuch  as  it 
is  usual  to  put  some  short  but  significant  compre¬ 
hensive  title  before  books  that  are  published,  the 
prophet  is  directed  to  call  his  book  Maher-shalal- 
hash-baz — Make  speed  to  the  s/ioil,  hasten  to  the 
prey;  intimating  that  the  Assyrian  army  should 
come  upon  them  with  great  speed,  and  make  great 
spoil;  by  this  title  the  substance  and  meaning  of  the 
book  would  be  inquired  after  by  those  that  had  read 
it,  or  heard  it  read.  It  is  sometimes  a  good  help  to 
memory  to  put  much  matter  in  few  words,  which 
serve  as  handles  by  which  we  take  hold  of  more. 

II.  The  care  of  this  prophet  to  get  this  record 
well  attested;  (v.  2. )  /  took  unto  me  faithful  wit¬ 
nesses  to  record;  he  wrote  the  prophecy  in  their 
sight  and  presence,  and  made  them  subscribe  their 
names  to  it,  that  they  might  be  ready,  if  afterward 
there  should  be  occasion,  to  make  oath  of  it,  that  the 
prophet  had  foretold  the  descent  which  the  As¬ 
syrians  made  upon  that  country  so  long  before;  he 
names  the  witnesses  for  the  greater  certainty,  that/ 
they  might  be  appealed  to  by  any;  they  were  two  in 
number;  (for  out  of  the  mouth  of  two  witnesses  shall 
every  word  be  established;)  one  was,  Uriah  the 
priest;  he  is  mentioned  in  the  story  of  Ahaz,  but  for 
none  of  his  good  deeds,  for  he  humoured  Ahaz  with 
an  idolatrous  altar;  (2  Kings  xvi.  10,  11.)  however, 
at  this  time,  no  exception  lay  against  him,  he  was  a 
f  .ithful  witness.  See  what  full  satisfaction  the  pro¬ 
phets  took  care  to  give  to  all  persons  concerned,  of 
the  sincerity  of  their  intentions,  that  we  might  know 
with  a  full  assurance  the  certainty  of  the  things 
wherein  we  have  been  instructed,  and  that  we  have 
not  followed  cunningly-devised  fables. 

III.  The  making  of  the  title  of  his  book  the  name 
of  his  child,  that  it  might  be  the  more  taken  notice 
of,  and  the  more  effectually  perpetuated,  v.  3.  His 
wife  (because  the  wife  of  a  prophet)  is  called  the 
hrophetess;  she  conceived  and  bare  a  son,  another 
son,  who  must  carry  a  sermon  in  his  name,  as  the 
former  had  done,  ( ch .  vii.  3. )  but  with  this  differ¬ 
ence,  that  spake  mercy,  Shear-jashub — The  rem¬ 
nant  shall  return;  but  that  being  slighted,  this 
speaks  judgment,  Maher-shalal-hash-baz — In  mak¬ 
ing  speed  to  the  spoil  he  shall  hasten,  or  he  has 
hastened,  to  the  prey.  The  prophecy  is  doubled, 
even  in  this  one  name,  for  the  thing  was  certain;  I 
will  hasten  my  word,  Jer.  i.  12.  Every  time  the 
'■hild  was  called  by  his  name,  or  any  part  of  it,  it 
wi  uld  serve  as  a  memorandum  of  the  judgments  ap¬ 
proaching.  Note,  It  is  good  for  us  often  to  put  our- 
s.-lves  in  mind  of  the  changes  and  troubles  we  are 
li  .Me  1 1  in  this  world,  and  which  perhaps  are  at  the 
door.  When  we  look  with  pleasure  on  our  chil¬ 
dren,  it  should  be  with  the  allay  of  this  thought, 
We  know  not  what  they  are  yet  reserved  for. 

IV.  The  prophecy  itself,  which  explains  this 
mystical  name; 

1.  That  Syria  and  Israel,  who  were  now  in  con¬ 
federacy  against  Judah,  should  in  a  very  little  time 
become  an  easy  prey  to  the  king  of  Assyria  and  his 
victorious  army;  (v.  4. )“ Before  the  child,  now  newlv 
born  and  named,  should  have  knowledge  to  cru,  My 
father,  and  My  mother,”  (which  are  usally  some 
of  the  first  things  that  children  know,  and  some  of 
the  first  word'  rnat  children  speak,)  “in  about  a 


year  or  two,  the  riches  of  Damascus,  and  the  spoil 
of  Samaria,  those  cities  that  are  now  so  secure 
themselves,  and  so  formidable  to  their  neighbours, 
shall  be  taken  away  before  the  king  of  alssyria,  who 
shall  plunder  both  city  and  country,  and  send  the 
best  effects  of  both  into  his  own  land,  to  enrich  that, 
and  as  trophies  of  his  victory.”  Note,  Those 
that  spoil  others,  must  expect  to  be  themselves 
spoiled,  (ch.  xxxiii.  1.)  for  the  Lord  is  righteous, 
and  those  that  are  troublesome  shall  be  troubled. 

2.  That  for  ismuch  as  there  were  many  in  Judah, 
that  were  secretly  in  the  interests  of  Syria  and  Israel, 
and  were  disaffected  to  the  house  of  David,  God 
would  chastise  them  also  by  the  king  of  Assyria, 
who  should  create  a  great  deal  of  vexation  to  Judah, 
as  was  foretold,  ch.  vii.  17. 

Observe,  (1.)  What  was  the  sin  of  the  discon¬ 
tented  party  in  Judah;  (v.  6.)  This  people,  when; 
the  prophet  here  speaks  to,  refuse  the  waters  cf 
Shiloah  that  go  softly,  despise  their  own  country 
and  the  government  of  it,  and  love  to  run  it  down, 
because  it  does  not  make  so  great  a  figure,  and  so 
great  a  noise  in  the  world,  as  some  other  kings  and 
kingdoms  do.  They  refuse  the  comforts  which 
|  God’s  prophets  offer  them  from  the  word  of  God, 
j  speaking  to  them  in  a  still  small  voice,  and  make 
i  nothing  of  them;  but  they  rejoice  in  Rezin  and  Re- 
maliah's  son,  who  were  the  enemies  of  their  coun¬ 
try,  and  were  now  actually  invading  it;  they  cried 
them  up  as  brave  men,  magnified  their  policies  and 
strength,  applauded  their  conduct,  were  well-pleas¬ 
ed  with  their  success,  and  were  hearty  well-wishers 
to  their  designs,  and  resolved  to  desert  and  go  ovei 
to  them.  Such  vipers  does  many  a  state  foster 
its  bosom,  that  eat  its  bread,  and  yet  adhere  to  its 
enemies,  and  are  ready  to  quit  its  interests,  if  they 
but  seem  to  totter. 

(2.)  The  judgment  which  God  would  bring  upon 
them  for  this  sin.  The  same  king  of  Assyria,  that 
should  lay  Ephraim  and  Syria  waste,  should  be  a 
scourge  and  terror  to  those  of  their  party  in  Judah, 
v.  vii.  8.  Because  they  refuse  the  waters  of  Shiloah, 
and  will  not  accommodate  themselves  to  tne  govern¬ 
ment  God  has  set  over  them,  but  are  uneasy  under 
it,  therefore  the  Lord  brings  upon  them  the  waters 
of  the  river,  strong  and  many,  the  river  Euphrates ; 
they  slighted  the  land  of  Judah,  because  it  had  no 
river  to  boast  of  comparable  to  that;  the  river  at  Je¬ 
rusalem  was  a  very  inconsiderable  one.  “Well,” 
says  God,  “  if  you  be  such  admirers  of  Euphrates, 
you  shall  have  enough  of  it;  the  king  of  Assyria, 
whose  country  lies  upon  that  river,  shall  come  with 
his  glory,  with  his  great  army,  which  you  cry  up  as 
his  glory,  despising  your  own  king,  because  he  can¬ 
not  bring  such  an  army  as  that  into  the  field;  God 
shall  bring  that  army  upon  you.  ”  If  we  value  men, 
if  we  overvalue  them,  for  their  worldly  wealth  and 
power,  it  is  just  with  God  to  make  them  by  that  a 
scourge  to  us.  Tt  is  used  as  an  argument  against 
magnifying  rich  men,  that  rich  men  oppress  us, 
Jam.  ii.  3,  6.  Let  us  be  best  pleased  with  the  wa¬ 
ters  of  Shiloah,  that  go  softly,  for  rapid  streams  are 
dangerous.  It  is  threatened  that  the  Assyrian  army 
should  break  in  upon  them  like  a  deluge,  or  inunda¬ 
tion  of  waters,  bearing  down  all  before  it,  should 
come  up  over  all  his  channels,  and  overflow  all 
his  banks;  it  would  be  to  no  purpose  to  oppose 
or  withstand  them;  Sennacherib  and  his  army 
should  pass  through  Judah,  and  meet  with  so 
little  resistance,  that  it  should  look  more  like  a 
march  through  the  country,  than  a  descent  upon 
it;  He  shall  reach  even  to  the  neck;  he  shall  ad¬ 
vance  so  far  as  to  lay  siege  to  Jerusalem,  the 
head  of  the  kingdom,  and  nothing  but  that  shall  be 
kept  out  of  his  hands;  for  that  was  the  holy  city 
Note,  in  the  greatest  deluge  of  trouble,  God  can, 

.  and  will,  keep.the  head  of  his  people  above  wa'  r. 


ISAIAH,  VIII. 


52 

nnd  so  preserve  their  comforts  and  spiritual  lives ;  1 
that  the  waters  that  come  into  their  souls,  may  reach  to! 
the  neck,  (Ps.  lxix.  1.)  but  there  shall  their  proud 
waves  be  stayed.  And  here  is  another  comfortable 
intimation,  that  though  the  stretching  cut  of  the 
wings  of  the  Assyrian,  that  bird  of  prey,  though  the 
right  and  left  wing  of  his  army,  should  fill  the 
breadth  of  the  land  of- Judah,  yet  still  it  was  Im¬ 
manuel’s  land.  It  is  thy  land,  O  Immanuel;  it  was 
to  be  Christ’s  land,  for  there  he  was  to  be  born,  and 
live,  and  preach,  and  work  miracles.  He  was  Zi¬ 
on’s  King,  and  therefore  had  a  peculiar  interest  in, 
and  concern  for,  that  land.  Note,  The  lands  that 
Immanuel  owns  for  his,  as  he  does  all  those  lands 
that  own  him,  though  they  may  be  deluged,  shall 
not  be  destroyed:  for  when  the  enemy  shall  come  in 
tike  a  flood,  Immanuel  shall  secure  his  own,  and 
shall  lift  up  a  standard  against  him,  ch.  lix.  19. 

9.  Associate  yourselves,  O  ye  people,  and 
ye  shall  be  broken  in  pieces;  and  give  ear, 
all  ye  of  far  countries:  gird  yourselves,  and 
ye  shall  be  broken  in  pieces;  gird  yourselves, 
and  ye  shall  be  broken  in  pieces.  1 0.  Take 
counsel  together,  and  it  shall  come  to  nought ; 
speak  the  word,  and  it  shall  not  stand:  for 
God  is  with  us.  1 1.  For  the  Lord  spake 
thus  to  me  with  a  strong  hand,  and  in¬ 
structed  me,  that  I  should  not  walk  in  the 
way  of  this  people,  saying,  1 2.  Say  ye  not, 
A  confederacy,  to  all  them  to  whom  this  peo¬ 
ple  shall  say,  A  confederacy :  neither  fear  ye 
their  fear,  nor  be  afraid.  13.  Sanctify  the 
Lord  of  hosts  himself ;  and  let  him  he  your 
fear,  and  let  him  be  your  dread.  1 4.  And  he 
shall  be  for  a  sanctuary:  but  for  a  stone  of 
stumbling,  and  for  a  rock  of  offence,  to  both 
the  houses  of  Israel;  for  a  gin  and  for  a  snare 
to  the  inhabitants  of  Jerusalem.  15.  And 
many  among  them  shall  stumble  and  fall, 
and  be  broken,  and  be  snared,  and  be  taken. 

The  prophet  here  returns  to  speak  of  the  present 
distress  that  Ahaz,  and  his  court  and  kingdom, 
were  in,  upon  account  of  the  threatening  confede¬ 
racy  of  the  ten  tribes,  and  the  Syrians,  against  them. 
And  in  these  verses, 

I.  He  triumphs  over  the  invading  enemies,  and, 
in  effect,  sets  them  at  defiance,  and  bids  them  do 
their  worst;  (y.  ix.  10.)  “  O  ye  people,  ye  of  far 
countries,  give  ear  to  what  the  prophet  says  to  you 
in  God’s  name. 

1.  “We  doubt  not  but  you  will  now  make  your 
utmost  efforts  against  Judah  and  Jerusalem;  you  as¬ 
sociate  yourselves  in  a  strict  alliance,  you  gird  your¬ 
selves,  and  again  you  gird  yourselves,  you  prepare 
far  action,  you  address  yourselves  to  it  with  resolu¬ 
tion,  you  gird  on  your  swords,  you  gird  up  your 
loins,  you  animate  and  encourage  yourselves  and 
one  another  with  all  the  considerations  you  can  think 
of,  you  take  counsel  together,  call  councils  of  war, 
and  all  heads  are  at  work,  about  the  proper  method 
fir  making  yourselves  masters  of  the  land  of  Judah, 
you  speak  the  word,  you  cojne  to  resolutions  con¬ 
cerning  it,  and  are  not  always  deliberating,  you  de¬ 
termine  what  to  do,  and  are  very  confident  of  the 
success  of  it,  that  the  matter  will  be  accomplished 
with  a  word’s  speaking.”  Note,  It  is  with  a  great 
deal  of  policy,  resolution,  and  assurance,  that  the 
church’s  enemies  carry  on  their  designs  against  it; 
end  abundance  of  pains  they  take  to  roll  a  stone 
that  will  certainly  return  upon  them.  t 


2.  “  This  is  to  let  you  know  that  all  your  efforts 
will  be  ineffectual;  you  cannot,  you  shall  not,  gain 
your  point,  nor  carry  the  day;  you  shall  be  broken 
in  pieces;  though  you  associate  yourselves,  though 
you  gird  yourselves,  thou  you  proceed  with  all  the 
policy  and  precaution  imaginable,  yet,  I  tell  ycu 
again  and  again,  all  your  projects  shall  be  baffled, 
you  shall  be  broken  in  pieces;  nay,  not  only  ycur 
attempts  shall  be  ruined,  but  your  attempts  shall  be 
your  ruin;  you  shall  be  broken  by  those  designs  you 
have  formed  against  Jerusalem;  your  councils  shall 
come  to  naught;  for  there  is  no  wisdom  or  counsel 
against  the  Lord;  your  resolves  will  not  be  put  in 
execution,  they  shall  not  stand;  you  speak  the  word, 
but  who  is  he  that  saith,  and  it  cometh  to  pass,  if  the 
Lord  commandeth  it  not?  What  sets  up  itself  against 
God,  and  his  cause,  and  counsel,  cannot  stand,  but 
must  inevitably  fall.  For  God  is  with  us;”  (this  re¬ 
fers  to  the  name  of  Immanuel — God  with  us;)  “the 
Messiah  is  to  be  bom  among  us,  and  a  people  de¬ 
signed  for  such  an  honour  cannot  be  given  up  to  ut¬ 
ter  min;  we  have  now  the  special  presence  of  God 
with  us  in  his  temple,  his  oracles,  his  promises,  and 
these  are  our  defence.  God  is  with  us,  he  is  on  cur 
side,  to  take  our  part,  and  fight  for  us;  and  if  God 
be  for  us,  who  can  be  against  us?”  Thus  does  the 
daughter  of  Zion  despise  them. 

II.  He  comforts  and  encourages  the  people  of  God 
with  the  same  comforts  and  encouragements  which 
he  himself  had  received:  the  attempts  made  upon 
them  were  very  formidable;  the  house  of  David,  the 
court  and  royal  family,  were  at  their  wits’  end,  (ch. 
vii.  2.)  and  then  no  marv  el  if  the  people  were  in  a 
consternation. 

Now,  1.  The  prophet  tells  us  how  he  was  him¬ 
self  taught  of  God  not  to  give  way  to  such  amazing 
fears  as  the  people  were  disturbed  with,  nor  to  run 
into  the  same  measures  with  them ;  (v.  11.)  “  The 
Lord  spake  to  me  with  a  strong  hand,  not  to  walk  in 
the  way  of  this  people;  not  to  say  as  they  say,  nor 
do  as  they  do,  nor  to  entertain  the  same  frightful 
apprehensions  of  things,  nor  to  approve  of  their  pro¬ 
jects  of  making  peace  upon  any  terms,  or  calling  in 
the  help  of  the  Assyrians.”  God  instructed  the 
prophet  not  to  go  down  the  stream.  Note,  .(1.) 
There  is  a  proneness  in  the  best  of  men  to  be 
frightened  at  threatening  clouds,  especially  when 
fears  are  epidemical.  We  are  all  too  apt  to  walk  in 
the  way  of  the  people  we  live  among,  though  it  be 
not  a  good  way.  (2.)  Those  whom  God  lov  es  and 
owns,  he  will  instruct,  and  enable  to  swim  against 
the  stream  of  common  cori-uptions,  particularly  of 
common  fears.  He  will  find  ways  to  teach  his  own 
people  not  to  walk  in  the  way  of  other  people,  but 
in  a  sober  singularity.  (3.)  Corruption  is  some¬ 
times  so  active  in  the  hearts  even  of  good  men,  that 
they  have  need  to  be  taught  their  duty  with  a  strong 
hand,  and  it  is  God’s  prerogative  to  teach  so,  for  he 
only  can  give  an  understanding,  and  overpower  the 
contradiction  of  unbelief  and  prejudice.  He  can 
teach  the  heart;  and  herein  none  teaches  like  him. 
(4.)  Those  that  are  to  teach  others  have  need 
to  be  themselves  well  instructed  in  their  duty,  ar.d 
then  they  teach  most  powerfully,  when  they  teach 
experimentally;  the  word  that  comes  from  the 
heart,  is  most  likely  to  reach  to  the  heart;  and 
what  we  are  ourselves  by  the  grace  of  God  instruct¬ 
ed  in,  we  should,  as  we  are  able,  teach  others  also. 

2.  Now  what  is  it  that  he  says  to  God’s  people? 

(1.)  He  cautions  them  againsta  sinful  fear,  v.  12. 
It  seems,  it  was  the  way  of  this  people  at  this  time, 
and  fear  is  catching;  he  whose  heart  fails  him, 
makes  his  brethren’s  heart  to  fail,  like  his  heart; 
(Deut.  xx.  8.)  therefore  Say  ye  not,  A  confederacy , 
to  all  them  to  whom  this  people  shall  say,  A  con  fede¬ 
racy:  that  is,  [1.]  “Be  net  associated  with  them 
in  the  confederacies  they  are  pr; jecting  and  fire 


ISAIAH,  VIII. 


casting  for.  Do  not  join  with  those  that,  for  the 
securing  of  themselves,  are  for  making  a  league 
with  the  Assyrians,  through  unbelief,  and  distrust 
of  God  and  their  cause.  l)o  not  come  into  any  such 
confederacy.”  Note,  It  concerns  us,  in  time  of 
trouble,  to  watch  against  all  such  fears  as  put  us 
upon  taking  any  indirect  courses  for  our  own  securi¬ 
ty.  [2.]  “  Be  not  afraid  of  the  confederacies  they 
frighten  themselves  and  one  another  with.  Do  not 
amuse  yourselves  with  the  apprehension  of  a  con¬ 
federacy,  upon  every  thing  that  stirs,  nor,  when  any 
little  thing  is  amiss,  cry  out  presently,  There  is  a  plot, 
a  plot.  When  they  talk  what  dismal  news  there  is, 
Syria  in  joined  with  Efihraim,  what  will  become  of 
us?  Must  we  fight,  or  must  we  flee,  or  must  we 
yield?  Do  not  you  fear  their  fear.  Be  not  afraid 
of  the  signs  of  heaven,  as  the  heathen  are,  Jer.  x. 
2.  Be  not  afraid  of  evil  things  on  earth,  but  let 
your  hearts  be  fixed.  Fear  not  that  which  they 
fear,  nor  be  afraid  as  they  are.  Be  not  put  into  such 
a  fright  as  causes  trembling  and  shaking;”  so  the 
word  signifies.  Note,  When  the  church’s  enemies 
have  sinful  confederacies  on  foot,  the  church’s 
friends  should  watch  against  the  sinful  fears  of  those 
confederacies. 

(2.)  He  advises  them  to  a  gracious,  religious  fear; 
But  sanctify  the  Lord  of  hosts  himself,  v.  13.  Note, 
The  believing  fear  of  God  is  a  special  preservative 
against  the  disquieting  fear  of  man;  see  1  Pet.  iii. 
Id,  15,  where  this  is  quoted,  and  applied  to  suffer¬ 
ing  Christians,  [l.j  We  must  look  upon  God  as 
the  Lord  of  hosts,  that  has  all  power  in  his  hand, 
and  all  creatures  at  his  beck.  [2.]  We  must  sanc¬ 
tify  him  accordingly,  give  him  the  glory  due  to  that 
name,  and  carry  it  toward  him  as  those  that  believe 
him  to  be  a  holy  God.  [3.]  We  must  make  him 
our  Fear,  the  Object  of  our  fear,  and  make  him  our 
Dread;  keep  up  a  reverence  of  his  providence,  and 
stand  in  awe  of  his  sovereignty;  be  afraid  of  his  dis¬ 
pleasure,  and  silently  acquiesce  in  all  his  disposals. 
Were  we  but  duly  affected  with  the  greatness  and 
glory  of  God,  we  should  see  the  pomp  of  our  ene¬ 
mies  eclipsed  and  clouded,  and  all  their  power  re¬ 
strained  and  under  check;  see  Neh.  iv.  14.  That 
they  are  afraid  of  the  re/iroach  of  men,  forget  the 
Lord  their  Maker,  ch.  li.  12,  13.  Compare  Luke 
xii.  4,  5. 

(3.)  He  assures  them  of  a  holy  security  and  se¬ 
renity  of  mind,  in  so  doing;  (y.  14.)  “  He  shall  be 
for  a  Sanctuary;  make  him  your  Fear,  and  vou 
shall  find  him  your  Hope,  your  Help,  your  De¬ 
fence,  and  your  mighty  Deliverer.  He  will  sanctify 
and  preserve  you.  He  will  be  fora  Sanctuary;’ 
[1.]  “  To  make  you  holy;  He  will  be  your  Sancti¬ 
fication;”  so  some  read  if.  If  we  sanctify  God  by 
our  praises,  he  will  sanctify  us  by  his  grace.  [2.  ] 
“To  make  you  easy;  He  will  be  your  Sanctuary, 
to  which  you  may  flee  for  safety,  and  where  you  are 
privileged  from  all  the  arrests  of  fear;  you  shall 
find  an  inviolable  refuge  and  security  in  him,  and 
see  yourselves  out  of  the  reach  of  danger.”  They 
that’  truly  fear  God,  shall  not  need  to  fear  any  evil. 

III.  He  threatens  the  ruin  of  the  ungodly  and  un¬ 
believing,  both  in  Judah  and  Israel.  They  have  no 
part  nor  lot  in  the  foregoing  comforts;  that  God, 
who  will  be  a  Sanctuary  to  those  who  trust  in  him, 
will  be  a  Stone  of  stumbling,  and  a  Rock  of  offence, 
to  those  who  leave  these  waters  of  Shiloah,  and  re¬ 
joice  in  Rezin  and  Remaliah’s  son,  (y.  6.)  who 
make  the  creature  their  fear  and  their  hope,  x>.  14, 
15.  The  prophet  foresees  that  the  greatest  part  of 
both  the  houses  of  Israel  would  not  sanctify  the  Lord 
of  hosts,  and  to  them  he  would  be  for  a  Gin  and  a 
Snare;  he  would  be  a  terror  to  them,  as  he  would 
be  a  Support  and  Stay  to  those  that  trusted  in  him. 
Instead  of  profiting  by  the  word  of  God,  they  should 
be  offended  at  it;  and  the  providences  of  God,  in-  I 


stead  of  leading  then\  to  him,  would  drive  them 
from  him.  What  was  a  savour  of  life  untc  life  to 
others,  would  be  a  savour  of  death  unto  death  to 
them.  So  that  many  among  them  shall  stumble 
and  fall;  they  shall  fall  both  into  sin  and  into  ruin, 
they  shall  fall  by  the  sword,  shall  be  taken  prison¬ 
ers,  and  go  into  captivity.  Note,  If  the  things  of 
God  be  an  offence  for  us,  they  will  be  an  undoing  to 
us.  Some  apply  this  to  the  unbelieving  Jews,  who 
rejected  Christ,  and  to  whom  he  became  a  Stone  of 
stumbling,  for  the  apostle  quotes  this  scripture  with 
application  to  all  those  who  persisted  in  their  unbe¬ 
lief  of  the  gospel  of  Christ;  (1  Pet.  ii.  8.)  to  them 
he  is  a  rock  of  offence,  because,  being  disobedient  to 
the  word,  they  stumble  at  it. 

16.  Bind  up  the  testimony,  seal  the  law 
among  my  disciples.  1 7.  And  1  will  wait 
upon  the  Lord,  that  hideth  his  face  from 
the  house  of  Jacob,  and  I  will  look  for  him. 
18.  Behold,  I,  and  the  children  whom  the 
Lord  hath  given  me,  are  for  signs  and  for 
wonders  in  Israel,  from  the  Lord  of  hosts, 
which  dwelleth  in  mount  Zion.  19.  And 
when  they  shall  say  unto  you,  Seek  unto 
them  that  have  familiar  spirits,  and  unto  the 
wizards  that  peep  and  that  mutter;  should 
not  a  people  seek  unto  their  God?  for  the 
living  to  the  dead?  20.  To  the  law  and  to 
the  testimony:  if  they  speak  not  according 
to  this  word,  it  is  because  there  is  no  light  in 
them.  21.  And  they  shall  pass  through  it 
hardly  bestead  and  hungry :  and  it  Eyhall 
come  to  pass,  that,  when  they  shall  be  hun¬ 
gry,  they  shall  fret  themselves,  and  curse 
their  king  and  their  God,  and  look  upward. 
22.  And  they  shall  look  unto  the  earth  ;  and 
behold  trouble  and  darkness,  dimness  of  an¬ 
guish;  and  they  shall  be  driven  to  darkness. 

In  these  verses,  we  have, 

I.  The  unspeakable  privilege  which  the  people 
of  God  enjoy,  in  having  the  oracles  of  Gcd  consigned 
over  to  them,  and  being  intrusted  with  the  sacred 
writings;  that  they  may  sanctify  the  Lord  of  hosts, 
may  make  him  their  Fear,  and  find  him  their  Sanc¬ 
tuary;  Bind  uji  the  testimony,  v.  16.  Note,  It  is  a 
great  instance  of  God’s  care  of  his  church  and  love 
of  it,  that  he  has  lodged  in  it  the  valuable  treasure 
of  divine  revelation.  1.  It  is  a  testimony  and  a  law; 
not  only  this  prophecy  is  so,  which  must  therefore 
be  preserved  safe  for  the  comfort  of  God’s  people  in 
the  approaching  times  of  trouble  and  distress,  but 
the  whole  word  of  God  is  so;  God  has  attested  it, 
and  he  has  enjoined  it.  As  a  testimony,  it  directs 
our  faith;  as  a  law,  it  directs  our  practice;  and  we 
ought  both  to  subscribe  to  the  truths  of  it,  and  tr 
submit  to  the  precepts  of  it  2.  This  testimony  ana 
this  law  are  bound  up  and  sealed,  for  we  me  not  to 
add  to  them,  or  diminish  from  them;  tnev  are  a 
letter  from  God  to  man,  folded  up  and  sealed;  a 
proclamation  under  the  broad  seal.  The  binding 
up  and  sealing  of  the  Old  Testament  signified,  that 
the  full  explication  of  many  of  the  prophecies  of  it 
was  reserved  for  the  New  Testament  times;  (Dan 
xii.  4.)  Seal  the  book  till  the  time  of  the  end;  but 
what  was  then  bound  up  and  sealed,  is  now  open 
and  unsealed,  and  revealed  unto  babes,  Matth.  xi. 
25.  Yet  with  reference  to  the  other  world,  and  the 
future  state,  still  the  testimony  is  bound  up  and 
sealed,  for  we  know  but  in  part,  and  prophecy  bu' 


54 


ISAIAH,  VIII. 


in  part.  3.  They  are  lodged  as  a  sacred  deposit  in 
the  hands  of  the  disciples*  of  the  children  of  the 
fcrofiheta  and  the  covenant,  Acts  iii.  25.  This  is 
the  good  thing  which  is  committed  to  tin  m,  and 
which  they  are  charged  with  the  custody  of,  2  Tim. 

i.  13,  14.  '  Those  that  had  prophets  for  their  tutors, 
must  still  keep  close  to  the  written  word. 

II.  The  good  use  which  we  ought  to  make  of  this 
privilege.  This  we  are  taught, 

1.  By  the  prophet’s  own  practice  and  resolutions, 

17,  i8.  He  embraced  the  law  and  the  testimony, 
and  he  had  the  comfort  of  it,  in  the  midst  of  the 
m  my  discouragements  he  met  with.  Note,  Those 
ministers  can  best  recommend  the  word  of  God  to 
others,  that  have  themselves  found  the  satisfaction 
of  relying  upon  it.  Observe, 

(1.)  The  discouragements  which  the  prophet  la¬ 
ir  lured  under;  he  specifies  two;  [1.]  1  he  frowns 
of  God,  not  so  much  upon  himself,  but  upon  his 
people,  whose  interests  lay  very  n.ear  his  heart; 
“He  hides  his  face  from  the  house  of  Jacob,  and 
seems,  at  present,  to  neglect,  and  lay  them  under 
the  tokens  of  his  displeasure.”  The  prophet  was 
himself  employed  in  revealing  God’s  wrath  against 
them,  and  yet"  grieved  thus  for  it,  as  one  that  did 
'  not  desire  the  woful  day.  If  the  house  of  Jacob  for¬ 
sake  the  God  of  Jacob,  let  it  not  be  thought  strange 
that  he  hides  his  face  from  them.  [2.]  The  con¬ 
tempt  and  reproaches  of  men,  not  only  upon  him¬ 
self,  but  upon  his  disciples,  among  whom  the  law 
and  the  testimony  were  sealed;  I  and  the  children 
which  the  Lord  hath  given  me,  are  for  signs  and 
wonders;  we  are  gazed  at  as  monsters  or  outlandish 
people,  pointed  at  as  we  go  along  the  streets.  Pro¬ 
bably  the  prophetical  names  that  were  given  his 
children  were  ridiculed  and  bantered  by  the  profane 
scoffers  of  the  town.  Jam  as  a  wonder  unto  many, 
Ps.  lxxi.  7.  God’s  people  are  the  world’s  wonder, 
(Zecli.  iii.  8.)  for  their  singularity,  and  because 
they  run  not  with  them  to  the  same  excess  of  riot, 
1  Pet.  iv.  4.  The  prophet  was  herein  a  type  of 
Christ;  for  this  is  quoted  (Heb.  ii.  13.)  to  prove 
that  believers  are  Christ’s  children;  Behold,  land 
the  children  which  God  hath  given  me.  Parents 
must  look  upon  their  children  as  God’s  gifts,  his 
gracious  gifts;  Jacob  did  so,  Gen.  xxxiii.  5.  Min¬ 
isters  must  look  upon  their  converts  as  their  chil¬ 
dren,  and  be  tender  of  them  accordingly,  (1  Thcss. 

ii.  7.)  and  as  the  children  which  God  has  given 
them;  for  whatever  good  we  are  instrumental  of  to 
others,  it  is  owing  to  the  grace  of  God.  Christ 
looks  upon  believers  as  his  children,  which  the 
Father  gave  him;  (John  xvii.  6.)  and  both  he  and 
they  are  for  signs  and  wonders,  spoken  against, 
(Luke  ii.  34.)  every  where  spoken  against,  Acts 
xxviii.  22. 

(2. )  The  encouragement  he  took,  in  reference  to 
these  discouragements.  [1.]  He  saw  the  hand  of 
God  in  all  that  which  was  discouraging  to  him,  and 
kept  his  eye  upon  that.  Whatever  trouble  the 
house  of  Jacob  is  in,  it  comes  from  God’s  hiding  his 
face;  nay,  whatever  contempt  is  put  upon  him  or 
his  friends,  it  is  from  the  Lord  of  hosts;  he  has  bid¬ 
den  Shimei  curse  David,  Job  xix.  13 — xxx.  11. 
[2.]  He  saw  God  dwelling  in  mount  Zion,  mani¬ 
festing  himself  to  his  people,  and  ready  to  hear 
their  prayers,  and  receive  their  homage.  Though, 
for  the  present,  he  hide  his  face  from  the  house  of 
Jacob,  yet  they  know  where  to  find  him,  and  re¬ 
cover  the  sight  of  him;  he  dwells  in  Mount  Zion. 
[3.]  He  therefore  resolved  to  wait  upon  the  Lord, 

:  nd  to  look  for  him;  to  attend  his  motions,  even 
while  he  hid  his  face,  and  to  expect  with  an  hum¬ 
ble  assurance  his  returns  in  a  way  of  mercy.  Those 
that  wait  upon  God  by  faith  and  prayer,  may  look 
for  him  with  hope  and  joy.  When  we  have  not 
sensible  comforts,  we  must  still  keep  up  our  observ¬ 


ance  of  God  and  obedience  to  him,  and  then  wait 
awhile;  at  evening-time  it  shall  be  light. 

2.  By  the. counsel  and  advice  which  he  gives  to 
his  disciples,  among  whom  the  law  and  the  testi¬ 
mony  were  sealed,  to  whom  were  committed  the 
lively  oracles. 

(1.)  He  supposes  they  would  be  tempted,  in  the 
day  of  their  distress,  to  consult  them  that  had  fa¬ 
miliar  spirits,  that  dealt  with  the  devil,  asked  his 
advice,  and  desired  to  be  informed  by  him  concern¬ 
ing  things  to  come,  that  they  might  take  their  mea¬ 
sures  accordingly.  Thus  Saul,  when  he  was  in 
straits,  made  his  application  to  the  witch  of  F.ndor, 
(1  Sam.  xxviii.  7,  15.)  and  Ahaziah  to  the  God  ct 
Ekron,  2  Kings  i.  2.  These  conjurors  had  fantastic 
gestures  and  tones;  they  peeped  and  muttered, 
they  muffled  their  heads,  that  they  could  neither 
see  nor  be  seen  plainly,  but  peeped  and  were  peep¬ 
ed  at:  or  both  the  words  here  used  may  refer  to 
their  voice  or  manner  of  speaking;  they  delivered 
what  they  had  to  say  with  a  low,  hollow,  broken 
sound,  scarcely  articulate;  and  sometimes  in  a  pul¬ 
ing  or  mournful  tone,  like  a  crane,  or  a  swallow,  or 
a  dove,  ch.  xxxviii.  14.  They  spake  not  with  that 
boldness  and  plainness  which  the  prophets  of  the 
Lord  spake  with,  but  as  those  who  desire  to  amuse 
people  rather  than  to  instinct  them ;  yet  there  were 
those  who  were  so  wretchedly  sottish  as  to  seek  to 
them,  and  to  court  others  to  do  so,  even  the  prophet’s 
hearers,  who  knew  better  things,  whom  therefore  the 

rophet  warns  not  to  say  A  confederacy  with  such. 

'here  were  express  laws  against  this  wickedness, 
(Lev.  xix.  31. — xx.  27.)  and  yet  it  was  found  in  Is¬ 
rael,  is  found  even  in  Christian  nations;  but  let  all 
that  have  any  sense  of  religion  show  it,  by  startling 
at  the  thought  of  it;  Get  thee  behind  me,  Satan. 
Dread  the  use  of  spells  and  charms,  and  consulting 
those  that  by  hidden  arts  pretend  to  tell  fortunes, 
cure  diseases,  or  discover  things  lost;  for  this  is  a 
heinous  crime,  and,  in  effect,  denies  the  God  that 
is  above. 

(2.)  He  furnishes  them  with  an  answer  to  this 
temptation,  puts  words  into  their  mouths:  “If  any 
go  about  to  ensnare  you,  give  them  this  reply  ; 
Should  not  a  people  seek  to  their  God?  What ! 
for  the  living  to  the  dead!”  [1.]  “Tell  them  it 
is  a  principle  of  religion,  that  a  people  ought  to 
seek  unto  their  God;  now  Jehovah  is  our  God,  and 
therefore  to  him  we  ought  to  seek,  and  to  consult 
with  him,  and  not  with  them  that  have  familiar 
spirits.  All  people  will  thus  walk  in  the  name  of 
their  God,  Mic.  iv.  5.  They  that  made  the  hosts 
of  heaven  their  gods,  sought  unto  them,  Jer.  viii.  2. 
Should  not  a  people  under  guilt,  and  in  trouble, 
seek  to  their  God  for  pardon  and  peace?  Should 
not  a  people  in  doubt,  in  want,  and  in  danger,  seek 
to  their  God  for  direction,  supply,  and  protection? 
Since  the  Lord  is  our  God,  and  we  are  his  people, 
it  is  certainly  our  duty  to  seek  him.”  [2.]  “Tell 
them  it  is  an  instance  of  the  greatest  fi  11  v  in  the 
world,  to  seek  for  living  men  to  dead  idols.  ’’  What 
can  be  more  absurd  than  to  seek  to  lifeless  images 
for  life  and  living  comforts,  or  to  expect  that  our 
friends  that  are  dead,  when  we  deify  them  and  pray 
to  them,  should  do  that  for  us  which  cur  living  friends 
cannot  do?  The  dead  know  not  any  thing,  nor  is 
there  with  them  any  dei’ice  or  working,  Ecol.  ix. 
5,  10.  It  is  folly  therefore  for  the  living  to  make 
their  court  to  them,  with  any  expectation  of  relief 
from  them.  Necromancers  consulted  the  dead,  as 
the  witch  of  Endor,  and  so  proclaimed  their  ovn 
folly;  we  must  live  by  the  living,  and  not  by  the 
dead;  what  life  or  light  can  we  look  for  from  them 
that  have  no  light  or  life  themselves? 

(3.)  He  directs  them  to  consult  with  the  oracles 
of  God;  if  the  prophets  that  were  among  them  did 
not  speak  directly  to  every  case,  yet  they  had  the 


bo 


SAIAH,  IX. 


written  word,  and  to  that  they  must  have  recourse. 
Note,  Those  will  never  be  drawn  to  consult  wizards, 
that  know  how  to  make  a  good  use  of  their  Bibles. 
Would  we  know  how  we  may  seek  to  our  God,  and 
co>-'e  to  the  knowledge  of  liis  mind?  To  the  law 
and  o  the  testimony.  There  you  will  see  what  is 
good,  and  what  the  Lord  requires  of  you.  Make 
God's  statutes  your  counsellors,  and  you  will  be 
counselled  right. 

Observe,  [1.]  What  use  we  must  make  of  the 
lnv  and  the  testimony;  we  must  speak  according 
to  that  word;  we  must  make  this  our  standard, 
conform  to  it,  take  advice  from  it,  make  our  ap- 
pea.  to  it,  and  in  every  thing  be  overruled  and  de- 
termwed  by  it;  consent  to  those  wholesome  healing 
words,  (1  Tim.  vi.  3.)  and  speak  of  the  things  of 
Go  l  in  the  words  which  the  Holy  Ghost  teaches. 
It  is  not  enough  to  say  nothing  against  it,  but  we 
must  speak  according  to  it. 

l2.]  Why  we  must  make  this  use  of  the  law  and 
the  testimony;  because  we  shall  be  convicted  of 
the  greatest  folly  imaginable  if  we  do  not.  They 
that  concur  not  with  the  word  of  God,  prove  there 
is  no  light,  no  morning-light,  (so  the  word  is,)  in 
them;  they  have  no  right  sense  of  things;  they  do 
not  understand  themselves,  nor  the  difference  be¬ 
tween  good  and  evil,  truth  and  falsehood.  Note, 
Those  that  reject  divine  revelation,  have  not  so 
much  as  human  understanding;  nor  do  they  rightly 
admit  the  oracles  of  reason,  who  will  not  admit  the 
oracles  of  God.  Some  read  it  as  a  threatening;  “  If 
they  speak  not  according  to  this  word,  there  shall 
be  no  light  to  them,  no  good,  no  comfort,  or  relief; 
but  they  shall  be  driven  to  darkness  and  despair;” 
as  it  follows  here,  (v.  21,  22.)  What  light  had 
Srul  when  he  consulted  the  witch?  1  Sam.  xxviii. 
18,  20.  Or  what  light  can  they  expect,  that  turn 
away  from  the  Father  of  lights? 

(4. )  He  reads  the  doom  of  those  that  seek  to  fa¬ 
miliar  spirits,  and  regard  not  God’s  law  and  testi¬ 
mony;  there  shall  not  only  be  no  light  to  them,  no 
comfort  or  prosperity,  but  they  may  expect  all  hor¬ 
ror  and  misery,  v.  21,  22.  [1.]  The  trouble  they 

feared  shall  come  upon  them;  they  shall  pass 
through  the  land,  or  pass  to  and  fro  in  the  land, 
unfixed,  unsettled,  and  driven  from  place  to  place 
by  the  threatening  power  of  an  invading  enemy; 
they  shall  be  hardly  bestead  whither  to  go  for  the 
necessary  supports  of  life;  either  because  the  coun¬ 
try  would  be  so  impoverished,  that  there  would  be 
nothing  to  be  had,  or  at  least  themselves  and  their 
friends  so  impoverished,  that  there  would  be  nothing 
to  be  had  for  them;  so  that  they  who  used  to  be  fed 
to  the  full  shall  be  hungry.  Note.  Those  that  go 
away  from  God,  go  out  of  the  way  of  all  good.  [2.  ] 
They  shall  be  very  uneasy  to  themselves,  by  their 
discontent  and  impatience  under  their  trouble.  _  A 
good  man  may  be  in  want,  but  then  he  quiets  him¬ 
self,  and  strives  to  make  himself  easy;  but  these 
people,  when  they  shall  be  hungry,  shall  fret  them¬ 
selves,  and  when  they  have  nothing  to  feed  on, 
their  vexation  shall  prey  upon  their  own  spirits;  for 
fretfulness  is  a  sin  that  is  its  own  punishment.  [3.] 
They  shall  be  very  provoking  to  all  about  them, 
triv,  to  all  above  them;  when  they  find  all  their 
nv  isures  broken,  and  themselves  at  their  wit’s 
end,  they  will  forget  all  the  rules  of  duty  and  de¬ 
cency,  and  will  treasonably  curse  their  king,  and 
blasphemously  curse  their  God;  and  this  more  than 
in  their  thought ,  and  in  their  bed-chamber,  Eccl. 
x.  20.  They  begin  with  cursing  their  king,  for 
managing  the  public  affairs  no  better,  as  if  the  fault 
were  his,  when  the  best  and  wisest  kings  cannot 
secure  success;  but  when  they  have  broken  the 
bonds  of  their  allegiance,  no  marvel  if  those  of  their 
religion  do  not  hold  them  long;  they  next  curse 
t’.ieir  God,  curse  him,  and  die;  they  quarrel  with  his 


providence,  and  reproach  that,  as  if  he  had  done 
them  wrong;  The  foolishness  of  man  perverts  his 
way,  and  then  his  heart  frets  against  the  Lord, 
Prov.  xix.  3.  See  what  need  we  have  to  keep  our 
mouth  as  with  a  bridle,  when  our  heart  is  hot  within 
us;  for  the  language  of  fretfulness  is  commonly 
very  offensive.  [4]  They  shall  abandon  them¬ 
selves  to  despair,  and,  which  way  soever  they  lock, 
shall  see  no  probability  of  relief;  they  shall  look  up¬ 
ward,  but  heaven  shall  frown  upon  them,  and  look 
gloomy;  and  how  can  it  be  otherwise,  when  they 
curse  their  God?  They  shall  look  to  the  earth,  but 
what  comfort  can  that  yield  to  those  whom  God  is 
at  war  with?  Thereis  nothing  there  but  trouble, 
and  darkness,  and  dimness  of  anguish,  every  thing 
threatening,  and  not  one  pleasant  gleam,  not  one 
hopeful  prospect;  but  they  shall  be  driven  to  dark¬ 
ness  by  the  violence  of  their  own  fears,  which  re 
present  every  thing  about  them  black  and  frightful. 
This  explains  what  he  had  said,  (v.  20.)  that  there 
shall  be  no  light  to  them.  Those  that  shut  their 
eves  against  the  light  of  God’s  word,  will  justly  be 
abandoned  to  darkness,  and  left  to  wander  endless¬ 
ly,  and  the  sparks  of  their  own  kindling  will  do 
them  no  kindness. 

CHAP.  IX. 

The  prophet,  in  this  chapter,  (according  to  the  directions 
iven  him  ch.  iii.  10,  11.)  saith  to  the  righteous,  It  shall 
e  well  with  thee ,  but  Wo  to  the  wicked,  it  shall  be  ill 
with  him .  Here  are,  I.  Gracious  promises  to  those 
that  adhere  to  the  law  and  to  the  testimony;  while  those 
that  seek  to  familiar  spirits,  shall  be  driven  into  dark¬ 
ness  and  dimness,  they  shall  see  a  great  light,  relief  in 
the  midst  of  their  distresses,  typical  of  gospel-grace. 
1.  In  the  doctrine  of  the  Messiah,  v.  1  .  .  3.  2.  His  vic¬ 
tories,  v.  4,  5.  3.  His  government  and  dominion,  as 

Immanuel,  v.  6,  7.  II.  Dreadful  threatenings  against 
the  people  of  Israel,  who  had  revolted  fromj  and  were 
enemies  to,  the  house  of  David;  that  they  should  be 
brought  to  utter  ruin,  that  their  pride  should  bring  them 
down,  ( v.  8 . .  10.)  that  their  neighbours  should  make  a 
prey  of*  them,  (v.  11,  12.)  that,  for  their  impenitency 
and  hypocrisy,  all  their  ornaments  and  supports  should 
be  cut  off,  (v.  13.  .  17.)  and  that  by  the  wrath  of  Goa 
against  them,  and  their  wrath  one  against  another,  they 
should  be  brought  to  utter  ruin,  v.  18. .21.  And  this 
is  typical  of  the  final  destruction  of  all  the  enemies  of 
the  son  of  David  and  his  kingdom. 

1.  '1^'EVERTHELESS,  the  dimness 
.1x1  shall  not  be  such  as  was  in  her 

vexation,  when  at  the  first  he  lightly  afflict¬ 
ed  the  land  of  Zebulun  and  the  land  of 
Naphtali,  and  afterward  did  more  griev¬ 
ously  afflict  her  by  the  way  of  the  sea,  be¬ 
yond  Jordan,  in  Galilee  of  the  nations. 

2.  The  people  that  walked  in  darkness 
have  seen  a  great  light :  they  that  dwell  in 
the  land  of  the  shadow  of  death,  upon  them 
hath  the  light  shined.  3.  Thou  hast  multi¬ 
plied  the  nation,  and  not  increased  the  joy: 
they  joy  before  thee  according  to  the  joy  in 
harvest,  and  as  men  rejoice  when  they  di¬ 
vide  the  spoil.  4.  For  thou  hast  broken  the 
yoke  of  his  burden,  and  the  staff  of  his  shoul¬ 
der,  the  rod  of  his  oppressor,  as  in  the  day 
ofMidian.  5.  For  every  battle  of  the  war¬ 
rior  is  with  confused  noise,  and  garments 
rolled  in  blood  ;  but  this  shall  be  with  burn¬ 
ing  and  fuel  of  fire.  6.  For  unto  us  a 
Child  is  born,  unto  us  a  Son  is  given  ;  and 
the  government  shall  be  upon  his  shoulder : 


i6  1SAI 

and  his  name  shall  be  called  Wonderful, 
Counsellor,  The  mighty  God,  The  everlast¬ 
ing  Father,  The  Prince  of  Peace.  7.  Of  the 
increase  of  his  government  anil  peace  there 
shall  be  no  end,  upon  the  throne  of  David, 
and  upon  his  kingdom,  to  order  it,  and  to 
establish  it  with  judgment  and  with  justice, 
from  henceforth  even  for  ever.  The  zeal 
of  the  Lord  of  hosts  will  perform  this. 

The  first  words  of  this  chapter  plainly  refer  to  the 
close  of  the  foregoing  chapter,  where  every  thing 
looked  black  and  melancholy:  Behold,  trouble,  and 
darkness,  and  dimness;  very  bad,  yet  not  so  bad,  but 
that  to  the  upright  there  shall  arise  light  in  the  dark¬ 
ness,  (Ps.  cxii.  4.)  and  at  evening-time  it  shall  be 
light,  Zech.  xiv.  7.  Nevertheless,  it  shall  not  be 
such  dimness  (either  not  such  for  kind,  or  not  such 
for  degree,)  as  sometimes  there  has  been.  Note, 
In  the  worst  of  times,  God’s  people  have  a  never¬ 
theless  to  comfort  themselves  with,  something  to 
allay  and  balance  their  troubles;  they  are  perse¬ 
cuted,  but  not  forsaken,  (2  Cor.  iv.  9.)  sorrowful, 
yet  always  rejoicing,  2  Cor.  vi.  10.  And  it  is  a 
matter  of  comfort  to  us,  when  things  are  at  the 
darkest,  that  he  who  forms  the  light,  and  creates 
the  darkness,  ( ch .  xlv.  7.)  has  appointed  both  their 
bounds,  and  set  the  one  over  against  the  other,  Gen. 
i.  4.  He  can  say,  “  Hitherto  the  dimness  shall  go, 
so  long  as  it  shall  last,  and  no  farther,  no  longer.  ” 
Three  things  are  here  promised,  and  they  all  point 
ultimately  at  the  grace  of  the  gospel,  which  the 
saints  then  were  to  comfort  themselves  with  the 
hopes  of,  in  every  cloudy  and  dark  day,  as  we  now 
are  to  comfort  ourselves,  in  time  of  trouble,  with 
the  hopes  of  Christ’s  second  coming,  though  that 
be  now,  as  his  first  coming  then  was,  a  thing  at  a 
great  distance.  The  mercy  likewise  which  God 
has  in  store  for  his  church,  in  the  latter  days,  mav 
be  a  support  to  those  that  are  mourning  with  her 
for  her  present  calamities.  We  have  here  the  pro¬ 
mise, 

I.  Of  a  glorious  light,  which  shall  so  qualify,  and 
by  degrees  dispel,  the  dimness,  that  it  shall  hot  be, 
as  it  sometimes  has  been  not  such  as  ivas  in  her 
vexation;  there  shall  not  be  such  dark  times  as 
w  .re  formerly,,  when,  at  first,  he  lightly  afflicted 
the  land  of  Zebulun  and  JVaphtali,  which  lay  re¬ 
mote,  and  most  exposed  to  the  inroads  of  the  neigh¬ 
bouring  enemies ;  and,  afterward,  he  more  griev¬ 
ously  afflicted  the  land  by  the  way  of  the  sea,  and 
beyond  Jordan,  ( v .  1.)  referring,  probably,  to  those 
days  when  God  began  to  cut  Israel  short,  and  to 
smite  them  in  all  their  coasts,  2  Kings  x.  32.  Note, 

1.  God  tries  what  lesser  judgments  will  do  with  a 
people,  before  he  brings  greater.  But,  2.  If  a  light 
affliction  do  not  do  its  work  with  us,  to  humble  and 
reform  us,  we  must  expect  to  be  afflicted  more 
grievously;  for  when  God  judges  he  will  overcome. 

Well,  those  were  dark  times  with  the  land  of 
Zebulun  and  Naphtali,  and  there  was  dimness  of 
anguish  in  Galilee  of  the  Gentiles,  both  in  respect  of 
ignorance,  (they  did  not  speak  according  to  the  laiu 
and  testimony,  and  then  there  was  no  light  in  them, 
ch.  viii.  20.)  and  in  respect  of  trouble  and  the  des- 
erate  posture  of  their  outward  affairs;  we  have 
oth  together,  2.  Chron.  xv.  3,  5.  Israel  has  been 
without  the  true  God  and  a  teaching  priest,  and  in 
those  times  there  was  no  peace:  but  the  dimn»ss 
threatened  (ch.  viii.  22.)  shall  not  prevail  to  such 
a  degree;  for,  (t>.  2.)  The  people  that  walked  in 
darkness  have  seen  a  great  light.  (1.)  At  this  time, 
when  the  prophet  lived,  there  were  manv  prophets 
in  Judah  and  Isnel,  whose  prophecies  were  a  great 
light  both  for  direction  and  comfort  to  the  people 


lH,  IX. 

of  God,  who  adhered  to  the  law  and  the  testimony; 
beside  the  written  word,  thev  had  prophecy;  there 
were  those  that  had  showed  them  how  I  ng,  (Ps. 
lxxiv.  9.)  which  was  a  great  satisfaction  tc  them, 
when,  in  respect  of  their  outward  troubles,  they 
sat  in  darkness,  and  dwelt  in  the  land  of  the  shadow 
of  death.  (2.)  This  was  to  have  its  full  accom¬ 
plishment  when  our  Lord  Jesus  began  to  appear  as 
a  Prophet,  and  to  preach  the  gospel  in  the  land  of 
Zebulun  and  Naphtali,  and  in  Galilee  of  the  Gen¬ 
tiles.  And  the  Old  Testament  prophets,  as  they 
were  witnesses  to  him,  so  they  were  types  of  him. 
When  he  came,  and  dwelt  in  the  borders  of  Zebu¬ 
lun  and  Naphtali,  then  this  prophecy  is  said  to  be 
fulfilled,  Matth.  iv.  13 — 16.  Note,  [1.]  Those 
that  want  the  gospel,  walk  in  darkness,  and  know 
not  what  they  do,  or  whither  they  go;  and  they 
dwell  in  the  land  of  the  shadow  of 'death,  in  thick 
darkness,  and  in  the  utmost  danger.  [2.]  When 
the  gospel  comes  to  any  place,  to  any  soul,  light 
comes,  a  great  light,  a  shining  light, '  which  will 
shine  more  and  more.  It  should  be  welcome  to  us, 
as  light  is  to  them  that  sit  in  darkness,  and  we 
should  readily  entertain  it,  both  because  it  is  of 
such  sovereign  use  to  us,  and  brings  its  own  evi 
dence  with  it.  Truly  this  light  is  sweet. 

II.  Of  a  glorious  increase,  and  an  universal  joy 
arising  from  it;  (d.  3.)  “  Thou,  O  God,  hast  mul 
tiplied  the  nation,  the  Jewish  nation,  which  thou 
hast  mercy  in  store  for;  though  it  has  been  dimin¬ 
ished  by  one  sore  judgment  after  another,  yet  now 
thou  hast  begun  to  multiply  it  again.”  The  num¬ 
bers  of  a  nation  are  its  strength  and  wealth,  if  the 
numerous  be  industrious;  and  it  is  God  that  in¬ 
creases  nations,  Job  xii.  23.  Yet  it  follows,  “  Thou 
hast  not  increased  the  joy;  the  carnal  joy  and  mirth, 
and  those  things  that  are  commonly  the  matter  and 
occasion  of  that;  but,  notwithstanding  that,  they 
joy  before  thee,  there  is  a  great  deal  of  serious  spi¬ 
ritual  joy  among  them,  joy  in  the  presence  of  God, 
with  an"  eye  to  him.”  This  is  verv  applicable  to 
the  times  of  gospel-light,  spoken  of,  v.  2.  Then 
God  multiplied  the  nation,  the  gospel-Israel.  “  And 
to  him”  (so  the  Masorites  read  it)  “  thou  hast  mag¬ 
nified  the  joy,  to  every  one  that  receives  the  light!” 
The  following  words  favour  this  reading;  thev  joy 
before  thee;  they  come  before  thee  in  holy  ordi¬ 
nances  with  great  joy;  their  mirth  is  net  like  that 
of  Israel,  under  their  vines  and  fig-trees,  (thou  hast 
not  increased  that  joy,)  but  it  is  in  the  favour  of  God 
and  in  the  tokens  of  his  grace.”  Note,  The  gospel, 
when  it  comes  in  its  light  and  power,  brings  joy 
along  with  it,  and  those  who  receive  it  aright,  there¬ 
in  do  rejoice,  yea,  and  will  rejoice;  therefore  the 
conversion  of  the  nations  is  prophesied  of  by  this, 
Ps.  lxvii.  4.  Let  the  nations  be  glad,  and  sing  for 
joy,  Ps.  xevi.  11.  1.  It  is  holy  joy:  “They  joy  be¬ 

fore  thee;”  they  rejoice  in  spirit,  (as  Christ  did, 
Luke  x.  21.)  and  that  is  before  God.  In  the  eve 
of  the  world,  they  are  always  as  sorrowful,  and  ye  t, 
in  God’s  sight,  always  rejoicing,  2  Cor.  vi.  10. '  2. 

It  is  great  joy,  it  is  according  to  the  joy  in  harvest, 
when  those  who  sowed  in  tears,  and  have  with  long 
patience  waited  for  the  precious  fruits  of  the  earth, 
reap  in  joy;  and  as  in  war,  men  rejoice,  when,  after 
a  hazardous  battle,  they  divide  the  spoil.  The  grs- 
pel  brings  with  it  plenty  and  victory;  but  those  that 
would  hat  e  joy  of  it,  must  expect  to  go  through  a 
hard  work,  as  the  husbandman,  before  he  has  the 
joy  of  harvest,  and  a  hard  conflict,  as  the  soldier, 
before  he  has  the  Joy  of  dividing  the  spoil;  but  the 
joy,  when  it  comes,  will  be  an  abundant  recom 
pense  for  the  toil.  See  Acts  viii.  8,  39. 

III.  Of  a  glorious  liberty  and  enlargement;  (r. 
4,5.)  “They  shall  rejoice  before  thee,  and  with 
good  reason,  for  thou  hast  broken  the  yoke  of  his 
burthen,  and  made  him  easy,  for  he  shall  no  longer 


ISAIAH,  IX. 


t>7 


be  in  servitude,  and  thou  hast  broken  the  stuff  of 
his  shoulder,  and  the  rod  of  his  oppressor,  that  red 
of  the  wicked  which  rested  long  on  the  lot  of  the 
righteous;”  as  the  Midi-unites’  yoke  was  broken 
from  off  the  neck  of  Israel  by  the  agency  of  Gideon. 
If  Gad  makes  former  deliverances  his  patterns  in 
working  tor  us,  we  ought  to  make  them  our  en¬ 
couragements  to  hope  in  him,  and  to  seek  to  him; 
(Ps.  lxxxiii.  9.)  Do  unto  them  as  to  the  Midian- 
iles.  What  temporal  deliverance  this  refers  to,  is 
not  clear,  probably,  the  preventing  of  Sennacherib 
from  making  himself  master  of  Jerusalem,  which 
was  done,  as  in  the  day  of  Midian,  by  the  imme¬ 
diate  hand  of  God;  and  whereas  other  battles  were 
usually  won  with  a  great  deal  of  noise,  and  by  the 
expense  of  much  blood,  this  shall  be  done  silently 
and  without  noise;  Under  his  g'ory  God  shall  kin¬ 
dle  a  burning;  (ch.  x.  16.)  a  fire  not  blown  shall 
consume  him,  Job  xx.  26.  But  doubt'iess  it  looks 
further,  to  the  blessed  fruits  and  effects  of  that 
great  light  which  should  visit  them  that  sat  in  dark¬ 
ness;  it  would  bring  liberty  along  with  it,  deliver¬ 
ance  to  the  ca/itives,  Luke  iv.  18.  1.  The  design 

of  the  gospel,  and  the  grace  of  it,  is,  to  break  the 
yoke  of  sin  and  Satan,  to  remove  the  burthen  of 
guilt  and  corruption,  and  to  free  us  from  the  rod 
of  those  oppressors,  that  we  might  be  brought  into 
the  glorious  liberty  of  the  children  of  God.  Christ 
brake  the  yoke  of  the  ceremonial  law,  (Acts  xv. 
10.  Gal.  v.  1.)  and  delivered  us  out  of  the  hands 
of  our  enemies,  that  we  might  serve  him  without 
far,  Luke  i.  74,  75.  7-  This  is  done  by  the  Spirit 

working  like  fire,  (Matth.  iii.  11.)  not  as  the  battle 
of  the  warrior  is  fought,  with  confused  noise;  no, 
the  weapons  of  our  warfare  are  not  carnal;  but  it  is 
done  with  the  spirit  of  judgment  and  the  spirit  of 
burning,  ch.  iv.  4.  It  is  done  as  in  the  day  of  Mi¬ 
dian,  bv  a  work  of  God  upon  the  hearts  of  men. 
Christ  is  our  Gideon;  it  is  his  sword  that  doeth 
wonders. 

But  who,  where  is  he  that  shall  undertake  and 
accomplish  these  great  things  for  the  church?  He 
tells  us,  (t>.  6,  7.)  they  shall  be  done  by  the  Messi¬ 
ah,  Immanuel,  that  son  of  a  virgin,  whose  birth  he 
had  foretold,  (ch.  vii.  14. )  and  now  speaks  of,  in  the 
rophetic  style,  as  a  thing  already  done:  the  Child  is 
om;  not  only  because  it  was  as  certain,  and  lie  was 
as  certain  of  it,  as  if  it  had  been  done  already;  but 
because  the  church,  before  his  incarnation,  reaped 
great  benefit  and  advantage  by  his  undertaking  in 
the  virtue  of  that  first  promise  concerning  the  Seed 
of  the  woman,  Gen.  iii.  15.  As  he  was  the  Lamb 
slain,  so  he  was  the  Child  bom,  from  the  founda¬ 
tion  of  the  world,  Rev.  xiii.  8.  All  the  great  things 
that  God  did  for  the  Old  Testament  church,  were 
done  bv  him  as  the  eternal  Word,  and  for  his  sake 
as  the  Mediator.  He  was  the  Anointed,  to  whom 
God  had  respect,  (Ps.  lxxxiv.  9.)  and  it  was  for  the 
Lord’s  sake,  for  the  Lord  Christ’s  sake,  that  God 
caused  his  face  to  shine  upon  his  sanctuary,  Dan. 
ix.  17.  Therefore  the  Jewish  nation,  and  particu¬ 
larly  the  house  of  David,  were  preserved  many  a 
time  from  imminent  ruin,  because  that  blessing  was 
in  them.  What  greater  security  therefore  could  be 
given  to  the  church  of  God  then,  that  it  should  be 
preserved,  and  be  the  special  care  of  Divine  Provi¬ 
dence,  than  this,  that  God  had  so  great  a  mercy  in 
res  Tve  for  it?  The  Chaldee  Paraphrase  understands 
it  of  the  Man  that  shall  endure  for  ever,  even  Christ. 
And  it  is  an  illustrious  prophecy  of  him  and  of  his 
kingdom,  which  doubtless  they  that  waited  for  the 
consolation  of  Israel  built  much  upon,  often  turned 
tA,  and  read  with  pleasure. 

(1.)  See  him  in  his  humiliation;  the  same  that  is 
th  ■  mighty  God,  is  a  Child  boro;  the  Ancient  of 
I)  tvs  becomes  the  Infant  of  a  span  long;  the  ever- 
1  .sthig  Father  is  a  Son  given.  Such  was  his  conde-  ' 

Vox.,  iv  -P 


scension  in  taking  our  nature  upon  him;  thus  did  he 
humble  and  empty  himself,  to  exalt  and  fill  us.  He 
is  bom  into  our  world;  the  I  l  ord  was  made  flesh, 
and  dwelt  among  us.  He  is  given,  freely  given,  to 
be  all  that  to  us,  which  our  case,  in  our  fallen  state, 
c  dls  for;  God  so  loved  the  world, .that  he  gave  him. 
He  is  born  to  us,  he  is  given  to  us,  us  men,  and  not 
to  the  angels  that  sinned;  it  is  spoken  with  an  air 
of  triumph,  and  the  angel  seems  to  refer  to  these 
words  in  the  notice  he  gives  to  the  shepherds  of  the 
Messiah’s  being  come;  (Luke  ii.  11.)  unto  you  is 
bom,  this  day,  a  Saviour.  Note,  Christ’s  being 
born  and  giv  en  to  us,  is  the  great  foundation  of  our 
hopes,  and  fountain  of  our  joys,  in  times  of  greatest 
grief  and  fear. 

(2.)  See  him  in  his  exaltation;  this  Child,  this 
Son,  this  Son  of  God,  this  Son  of  man,  that  is  given 
to  us,  in  a  capacity  to  do  us  a  great  deal  of  kind¬ 
ness;  for  he  is  invested  with  the  highest  honour  and 
power,  so  that  we  cannot  but  be  happy  if  he  be  our 
Friend. 

[1.]  See  the  dignity  he  is  advanced  to,  and  the 
name  he  has  above  every  name.  He  shall  be  called 
(and  therefore  we  are  sure  he  is,  and  shall  be,) 
Wonderful,  Counsellor,  &c.  His  people  shall  know 
him,  and  worship  him,  by  these  names;  and  as  one 
that  fully  answers  them,  they  shall  submit  to  him, 
and  depend  upon  him. 

First,  He  is  Wonderful,  Counsellor.  Justly  he  is 
called  Wonderful,  for  he  is  both  God  and  man. 
His  love  is  the  wonder  of  angels  and  glorified  saints; 
in  his  birth,  life,  death,  resurrection,  and  ascension, 
he  was  wonderful.  A  constant  series  of  wonders 
attended  him,  and,  without  controversy,  great  was 
the  mystery  of  godliness  concerning  him.  He  is  the 
Counsellor,  for  he  was  intimately  acquainted  with 
the  counsels  of  God  from  eternity,  and  he  gives 
counsel  to  the  children  of  men,  in  which  he  consults 
our  welfare.  It  is  by  him  that  God  has  given  us 
counsel,  Ps.  xvi.  7.  Rev.  iii.  18.  He  is  the  vVisdcm 
of  the  Father,  and  is  made  of  God  to  us  Wisdom. 
Some  join  these  together;  He  is  the  Wonderful 
Counsellor,  a  wonder  or  miracle  of  a  counsellor;  in 
this,  as  in  other  things,  he  has  the  pre-eminence; 
none  teaches  like  him. 

Secondly,  He  is  the  mighty  God;  God,  the  mighty 
One.  As  he  has  wisdom,  so  he  has  strength,  to  go 
through  with  his  undertaking;  he  is  able  to  save  to 
the  utmost;  and  such  is  the  work  of  the  Mediator, 
that  no  less  a  power  than  that  of  the  mighty  God 
could  accomplish  it. 

Thirdly,  He  is  the  everlasting  Father,  or  the  Fa¬ 
ther  of  eternity;  he  is  God,  one  with  the  Father, 
who  is  from  everlasting  to  everlasting.  His  fatherly 
care  of  his  people  and  tenderness  toward  them  are 
everlasting.  He  is  the  Author  of  everlasting  life 
and  tenderness  to  them,  and  so  is  the  Father  of  a 
blessed  eternity  to  them.  He  is  the  Father  of  the 
world  to  come;  so  the  LXX  read  it;  the  Father  of 
the  gospel-state,  which  is  put  in  subjection  to  him, 
not  to  the  angels,  Heb.  ii.  5.  He  was,  from  eternity, 
Father  of  the  great  work  of  Redemption:  his  heart 
was  upon  it;  it  was  the  product  of  his  wisdem,  as 
the  Counsellor;  of  his  love,  as  the  everlasting  Fa 
ther. 

Fourthly,  He  is  the  Prince  of  Peace;  as  a  King, 
he  preserves  the  peace,  commands  peace,  nay,  he 
creates  peace,  in  his  kingdom.  He  is  cur  Peace, 
and  it  is  his  peace  that  both  keeps  the  hearts  <  f  his 
people,  and  rules  in  them.  He  is  not  only  a  peace¬ 
able  Prince,  and  his  reign  peaceable,  but  he  is  the 
Author  and  Giver  of  all  good,  all  that  peace  which 
is  the  present  and  future  bliss  of  Lis  subjects. 

[2.]  See  the  dominion  he  is  advanced  to,  and  the 
throne  he  has,  above  every  throne;  (v.  6.)  The  go¬ 
vernment  shall  be  u/ion  his  shoulder;  his  only:  he 
shall  not  only  wear  *ht  badge  cf  it  upon  his 


58 


ISAIAH,  IX. 


•shoulder,  (the  key  of  the  house  of  David,  ch.  xxii. 
'22.;  out  he  shall  bear  the  burthen  of  it.  The  Fa¬ 
ther  shall  devolve  it  upon  him,  so  that  he  shall  have 
an  incontestable  right  to  govern;  and  he  shall  un¬ 
dertake  it,  so  that  ■-»  doubt  can  be  made  of  his  go¬ 
verning  well,  for  lie  shall  set  his  shoulder  to  it,  and 
will  never  complain,  as  Moses  did,  of  his  being  over¬ 
charged;  lam  not  able  to  bear  all  this  fieofile. 
Numb.  xi.  11,  14. 

Glorious  things  are  here  spoken  of  Christ’s  go¬ 
vernment,  v.  7. 

First,  That  it  shall  be  an  increasing  government; 
it  shall  be  multiplied,  the  bounds  of  his  kingdom 
shall  be  more  and  more  enlarged,  and  many  shall 
be  added  to  it  daily;  the  lustre  of  it  shall  increase, 
and  it  shall  shine  more  and  more  brightly  in  the 
world.  The  monarchies  of  the  earth  were  each  less 
illustrious  than  the  other;  so  that  what  began  in 
gold  ended  in  iron  and  clay,  and  every  monarchy 
dwindled  by  degrees:  but  the  kingdom  of  Christ  is 
a  growing  kingdom,  and  will  come  to  perfection  at 
last. 

Secondly,  That  it  shall  be  a  peaceable  govern¬ 
ment,  agreeable  to  his  character  as  the  Prince  of 
Peace:  he  shall  rule  by  love,  shall  rule  in  men’s 
hearts;  so  that  wherever  his  government  is,  there 
shall  be  peace;  and  as  his  government  increases, 
the  peace  shall  increase;  the  more  we  are  subject 
to  Christ,  the  more  easy  and  safe  we  are. 

Thirdly,  That  it  shall  be  a  rightful  government; 
he  that  is  the  Son  of  David,  shall  reign  upon  the 
throne  of  David,  and  over  his  kingdom,  which  he  is 
entitled  to;  God  shall  give  him  the  throne  of  his  fa¬ 
ther  David,  Luke  i.  32,  33.  The  gospel-church,  in 
which  Jew  and  Gentile  are  incorporated,  is  the  holy 
hill  of  Zion,  on  which  Christ  reigns,  Ps.  ii.  6. 

Fourthly,  That  it  shall  be  administered  with  pru¬ 
dence  and  equity,  and  so  as  to  answer  the  great  end 
of  government,  which  is  the  establishment  of  the 
kingdom;  he  shall  order  it,  and  settle  it,  with  jus¬ 
tice  and  judgment;  every  thing  is,  and  shall  be,  well 
managed,  in  the  kingdom  of  Chi'ist,  and  none  of  his 
subjects  shall  ever  have  cause  to  complain. 

Fifthly,  That  it  shall  be  an  everlasting  kingdom ; 
here  shall  be  no  end  of  the  increase  of  his  govern- 
nent,  it  shall  be  still  growing;  no  end  of  the  in- 
.rease  of  the  peace  of  it,  for  the  happiness  of  the 
•ubjects  of  this  kingdom  shall  last  to  eternity,  and 
■  erhaps  shall  be  progressive  in  infinitum — for  ever. 
He  shall  reign  from  henceforth  even  for  ever;  not 
only  throughout  all  generations  of  time,  but  even 
then  when  the  kingdom  shall  be  delivered  up  to 
God,  even  the  Father,  the  glory  both  of  the  Re¬ 
deemer  and  the  redeemed  shall  continue  eternally. 

Lastly,  That  God  himself  has  undertaken  to  bring 
all  this  about;  The  Lord  of  hosts,  who  has  all  power 
in  his  hand,  and  all  creatures  at  his  beck,  shall  per¬ 
form  this,  shall  preserve  the  throne  of  David  till 
this  Prince  of  peace  is  settled  in  it;  his  zeal  shall 
do  it;  his  jealousy  for  his  own  honour,  and  the  truth 
ofhis  promise,  and  the  good  of  his  church.  Note, 
The  heart  of  God  is  much  upon  the  advancement 
of  the  kingdom  of  Christ  among  men;  which  is  very 
comfortable  to  all  those  that  wish  well  to  it;  the 
zeal  of  the  Lord  of  hosts  will  overcome  all  opposi¬ 
tion. 

8.  The  Lord  sent  a  word  into  Jacob, 
and  it  hath  lighted  upon  Israel.  9.  And  all 
the  people  shall  know,  even  Ephraim  and 
the  inhabitants  of  Samaria,  that  say  in 
the  pride  and  stoutness  of  heart,  10.  The 
bricks  are  fallen  down,  but  we  will  build 
with  hewn  stones;  the  sycamores  are  cut 
down,  but  we  will  change  them  into  cedars. 


11.  Therefore  the  Lord  shall  set  up  the 
adversaries  of  liezin  against  him,  and  join 
his  enemies  together;  12.  The  Syrians  be¬ 
fore,  and  the  Philistines  behind ;  and  they 
shall  devour  Israel  with  open  mouth.  For 
all  this  his  anger  is  not  turned  away,  but  his 
hand  is  stretched  out  still.  13.  For  the  peo¬ 
ple  turneth  not  unto  him  that  smiteth  them, 
neither  do  they  seek  the  Lord  of  hosts.  1 4. 
Therefore  the  Lord  will  cut  off  from  Isiael 
head  and  tail,  branch  and  rush,  in  one  day. 
15.  The  ancient  and  honourable,  he  is  the 
head;  and  the  prophet  that  teacheth  lies,  he 
is  the  tail.  1 6.  F or  the  leaders  of  this  peo¬ 
ple  cause  them  to  err;  and  they  that  arc  led 
of  them  are  destroyed.  17.  Therefore  the 
Lord  shall  have  no  joy  in  their  young  men, 
neither  shall  have  mercy  on  their  fatherless 
and  widows:  for  every  one  is  a  hypocrite 
and  an  evil-doer,  and  every  mouth  speaketh 
folly.  For  all  this  his  anger  is  not  turned 
away,  but  his  hand  is  stretched  out  still. 
18.  For  wickedness  burneth  as  the  fire: 
it  shall  devour  the  briers  and  thorns,  and 
shall  kindle  in  the  thickets  of  the  forest; 
and  they  shall  mount  up  like  the  lifting  up 
of  smoke.  19.  Through  the  wrath  of  the 
Lord  of  hosts  is  the  land  darkened,  and  the 
people  shall  be  as  the  fuel  of  the  fire:  no 
man  shall  spare  his  brother.  20.  And  he 
shall  snatch  on  the  right  hand,  and  be  hun¬ 
gry;  and  he  shall  eat  on  the  left  hand,  and 
they  shall  not  be  satisfied:  they  shall  eat 
eveiy  man  the  flesh  of  his  own  arm :  21. 

Manasseh,  Ephraim;  and  Ephraim,  Ma- 
nasseh :  and  they  together  shall  he  against 
Judah.  For  this  his  anger  is  not  turned 
away,  but  his  hand  is  stretched  out  still. 

Here  are  terrible  threatenings,  which  are  directed 
primarily  against  Israel,  the  kingdom  of  the  ten 
tribes,  Ephraim  and  Samaria,  the  ruin  of  which  is 
here  foretold,  with  all  the  woful  confusions  that  were 
the  prefaces  to  that  ruin,  all  which  came  to  pass 
within  a  few  years  after;  but  they  look  further,  to 
all  the  enemies  of  the  throne  and  kingdom  of  Christ 
the  Son  of  David,  and  read  the  doom  of  all  nations 
that  forget  God,  and  will  not  have  Christ  to  reign 
over  them.  Observe, 

I.  The  preface  to  this  prediction;  (v.  8.)  The 
Lord  sent  a  word  into  Jacob;  sent  it  by  his  servants 
the  prophets;  he  warns  before  he  wounds;  he  sent 
notice  what  he  would  do,  that  they  might  meet  him 
in  the  wav  of  his  judgments,  but  they  would  not 
take  the  hint,  took  no  care  to  turn  away  his  wrath, 
and  so  it  lighted  upon  Israel;  for  no  word  of  God 
shall  fall  to  the  ground.  It  fell  upon  them  as  a 
storm  of  rain  and  hail  from  on  high,  which  they 
could  not  avoid.  “  It  has  lighted  ufion  them;  it  is 
as  sure  to  come  as  if  it  were  come  already ;  and  all 
the  people  shall  know  bv  feeling  it,  what  they  would 
not  know  by  hearing  of  it.  ”  Those  that  are  wil¬ 
lingly  ignorant  of  the  wrath  of  God  revealed  from 
heaven  against  sin  and  sinners,  shall  be  made  to 
know  it. 

II.  The  sins  charged  upon  the  people  of  Israel, 


59 


ISAIAH,  IX. 


Which  provoked  God  to  bring  these  judgments  upon 
them. 

].  Their  insolent  defiance  of  the  justice  of  God, 
thinking  themselves  a  match  for  him;  They  say ,  in 
the  pride  and  stoutness  of  their  heart,  “  Let  God 
himself  do  his  worst,  we  will  hold  our  own,  and 
make  our  part  good  with  him;  if  he  ruin  our  houses, 
we  will  repair  them,  and  make  them  stronger  and 
finer  than  they  were  before;  our  Landlord  shall  not 
turn  us  out  of  doors,  though  we  pay  him  no  rent, 
but  we  will  keep  in  possession.  It  the  houses  that 
were  built  of  bricks,  be  demolished  in  the  war,  we 
will  rebuild  them  with  hewn  stones,  that  shall  not  so 
easily  be  thrown  down.  If  the  enemy  cut  down  the 
svcamores,  we  will  plant  cedars  in  the  room  of  them. 
VVe  will  make  a  hand  of  God’s  judgments,  gain  by 
them,  and  so  outbrave  them.”  Note,  Those  are 
ripening  apace  for  ruin,  whose  hearts  are  unhum¬ 
bled  under  humbling  providences;  for  God  will 
walk  contrary  to  those  who  thus  walk  contrary  to 
him,  and  provoke  him  to  jealousy,  as  if  they  were 
stronger  than  he. 

2.  Their  incorrigibleness  under  all  the  rebukes 
of  Providence  hitherto;  (v.  13.)  The  people  turn 
not  unto  him  that  smites  them;  they  are  not  wrought 
upon  to  reform  their  lives,  to  forsake  their  sins,  and 
to  return  to  their  duty;  neither  do  they  seek  the  Lord 
of  hosts;  either  they  are  atheists,  and  have  no  reli¬ 
gion,  or  idolaters,  and  seek  to  those  gods  that  are 
the  creatures  of  their  own  fancy,  and  the  works  of 
their  own  hands.  Note,  That  which  God  designs, 
in  smiting  us,  is,  to  turn  us  to  himself,  and  to  set  us  a 
seeking  him;  and  if  this  point  be  not  gained  by  lesser 
judgments,  greater  may  be  expected.  God  smites, 
that  he  may  not  kill. 

3.  Their  general  corruption  of  manners  and 
abounding  profaneness.  (1.)  Those  that  should 
have  reformed  them,  helped  to  debauch  them;  ( v . 
16.)  The  leaders  of  this  people  mislead  them,  and 
cause  them  to  err,  by  conniving  at  their  wicked¬ 
ness,  and  countenancing  wicked  people,  and  by  set¬ 
ting  them  bad  examples;  and  then  no  wonder  if 
they  that  are  led  of  them  be  deceived,  and  so  destroy¬ 
ed;  but  it  is  ill  with  a  people  when  their  physicians 
are  their  worst  disease.  They  that  bless  this  fieople, 
or  call  them  blessed,  (so  the  margin  reads  it,)  that 
flatter  them,  and  soothe  them  up  in  their  wicked¬ 
ness,  and  cry  Peace,  peace,  to  them,  they  cause  them 
to  err;  and  they  that  are  called  blessed  of  them,  are 
swallowed  up  ere  they  are  aware.  We  have  reason 
to  be  afraid  of  those  that  speak  well  of  us  when  we 
do  ill;  see  Prov.  xxiv.  24. — xxix.  5.  (2.)  Wicked¬ 
ness  was  universal,  and  all  were  infected  with  it; 

v.  17.)  Every  one  is  a  hypocrite  and  evil-doer. 
f  there  be  any  that  are  good,  they  do  not,  they  dare 
not,  appear;  for  every  mouth  speaks  folly  and  vil- 
lany;  every  one  is  profane  toward  God,  (so  the  word 
properly  signifies,)  and  an  evil-doer  toward  man; 
these  two  commonly  go  together;  they  that  fear  not 
God,  regard  not  man;  and  then  every  mouth  speaks 
folly,  falsehood,  and  reproach,  both  against  God 
and  man;  for  out  of  the  abundance  of  the  heart  the 
mouth  speaks. 

III.  The  judgments  threatened  against  them  for 
this  wickedness  of  theirs;  let  them  not  think  to  go 
unpunished. 

1.  In  general,  hereby  they  exposed  themselves  to 
the  wrath  of  God,  which  should  both  devour  as  fire, 
and  darken  as  smoke.  (1.)  It  should  devour  as  fire; 
( v .  18. )  Wickedness  shall  burn  as  the  fire;  the  dis¬ 
pleasure  of  God,  incurred  by  sin,  shall  consume  the 
sinners,  who  have  made  themselves  as  briers  and 
thorns  before  it,  and  as  the  thickets  of  the  forest; 
combustible  matter,  which  the  wrath  of  the  Lord 
of  hosts,  the  mighty  God,  will  go  through,  and  bum 
together.  (2.)  It  should  darken  as  smoke;  the 
briers  and  thorns,  when  the  fire  consumes  them, 


shall  mount  up  like  the  lifting  up  of  smoke,  so  that 
the  whole  land  shall  be  darkened  by  it;  they  shell 
be  in  trouble,  and  see  no  way  out;  (v.  19.)  Tie 
people  shall  be  as  the  fuel  of  the  fire.  God’s  wratf 
fastens  upon  none  but  those  that  make  themselvtt 
fuel  for  it,  and  then  they  mount  up  as  the  smoke  (  f 
sacrifices,  being  made  victims  to  divine  justice. 

2.  God  would  arm  the  neighbouring  powers 
against  them,  v.  11,  12.  At  this  time,  the  kingdom 
of  Israel  was  in  league  with  that  of  Syria  against 
Judah;  but  the  Assyrians,  who  were  adversaries  to 
the  Syrians,  when  they  had  conquered  them,  should 
invade  Israel;  and  God  will  stir  them  up  to  do  it, 
and  join  the  enemies  of  Israel  together  in  alliance 
against  them,  who  yet  have  particular  ends  of  their 
own  to  serve,  ;ind  are  not  aware  of  God’s  hand  in 
their  alliance.  Note,  (1.)  When  enemies  are  set 
up,  and  joined  in  confederacy  against  a  people,  God’s 
hand  must  be  acknowledged  in  it.  (2.)  Those  that 
partake  with  each  other  in  sin,  as  Syria  and  Israel 
in  invading  Judah,  must  expect  to  share  in  the  pu¬ 
nishment  of  sin.  Nay,  the  Syrians  themselves, 
whom  they  were  now  in  league  with,  should  be  a 
scourge  to  them,  (for  it  is  no  unusual  thing  for  those 
to  fall  out,  that  have  been  united  in  sin,)  they  be¬ 
fore,  and  the  Philistines  behind;  one  attacking  them 
in  the  front,  the  other  flanking  them,  or  falling  upon 
their  rear;  so  that  they  should  be  surrounded  with 
enemies  on  all  sides,  who  should  devour  them  with 
open  mouth,  v.  12.  The  Philistines  were  not  now 
looked  upon  as  formidable  enemies,  and  the  Syrians 
were  looked  upon  as  fast  friends;  and  yet  these  shall 
devour  Israel.  When  men’s  ways  displease  the 
Lord,  he  makes  even  their  friends  to  be  at  war  with 
them. 

3.  God  would  take  from  the  midst  of  them  those 
they  confided  in,  and  promised  themselves  help 
from,  v.  14,  15.  Because  the  people  seek  not  God, 
those  they  seek  to,  and  depend  upon,  shall  stand 
them  in  no  stead.  The  Lord  will  cut  off  head  and 
tail,  branch  and  rush,  which  is  explained  in  the 
next  verse.  (1.)  Their  magistrates,  that  were  ho¬ 
nourable  by  birth  and  office,  and  were  the  ancients 
of  the  people,  these  were  the  head,  these  were  the 
branch  which  they  promised  themselves  spirit  and 
fruit  from;  but  because  these  caused  them  to  err, 
they  shall  be  cut  off,  and  their  dignity  and  power 
shall  be  no  protection  to  them,  when  the  abuse  of 
that  dignity  and  power  was  the  great  provocation : 
it  was  a  judgment  upon  the  people  to  have  their 
princes  cut  off,  though  they  were  not  such  as  they 
should  be.  (2.)  Their  prophets,  their  false  pro¬ 
phets,  were  the  tail  and  the  rush,  the  most  despica¬ 
ble  of  all  others.  A  wicked  minister  is  the  worst 
of  men;  Corruptio  optimi  est  pessima — That  which 
is  best,  proves,  when  corrupted ,  to  be  the  worst. 
The  blind  led  the  blind,  and  so  both  fell  into  the 
ditch;  and  the  blind  leaders  fell  first,  and  fell  unde)  - 
most. 

4.  That  the  desolation  should  be  as  general  as  the 

corruption  had  been,  and  none  should  escape  it,  v. 
17.  (1.)  Not  those  that  were  the  objects  of  com¬ 

placency:  none  shall  be  spared  for  love:  The  Lord 
shall  have  no  joy  in  their  young  men,  that  were  in 
the  flower  of  their  youth;  nor  will  he  say,  Deal 
gently  with  the  young  men  for  my  sake;  no,  “  Let 
them  fall  with  the  rest,  and  with  them  let  the  seed 
of  the  next  generation  perish.”  (2.)  Not  these  that 
were  the  objects  of  compassion;  none  shall  be  spared 
for  pity ;  He  shall  not  have  mercy  on  the  fatherless 
and  widows,  though  he  is,  in  a  particular  manner, 
their  Patron  and  Protector:  they  had  corrupted 
their  way  like  all  the  rest;  and  if  the  poverty  and 
helplessness  of  their  state  was  not  an  argument  with 
them  to  keep  them  from  sin,  they  could  not  expect 
it  should  be  an  argument  with  God  to  protect  tl  era 
from  judgments. 


CO 


ISAIAH,  X. 


5.  That  they  should  pull  one  another  to  pieces, 

and  every  one  should  help  forward  the  common 
ruin,  and  they  should  be  cannibals  to  themselves 
and  one  another;  JVb  man  shall  spare  his  brother ,  if 
he  come  in  the  way  of  his  ambition  or  covetousness, 
or  if  he  have  any  colour  to  be  revenged  on  him;  and 
how  can  they  expect  God  should  spare  them,  when 
they  show  no  compassion  one  to  another?  Men’s 
passion  and  cruelty  one  against  another  provoke 
God  to  be  angry  with  them  all,  and  are  an  evidence 
that  he  is  so.  Civil  wars  soon  bring  a  kingdom  to 
desolation;  such  there  were  in  Israel,  when,  for  the 
transgression  of  the  land,  many  were  the  princes 
thereof  Prov.  xxviii.  2.  In  these  intestine  broils, 
men  snatched  on  the  right  hand  and  yet  were  hun¬ 
gry  still,  and  did  eat  the  flesh  of  their  own  arm, 
preyed  upon  themselves  for  hunger,  or  upon  their 
nearest  relations  that  were  as  their  own  flesh,  v.  20. 
This  bespeaks,  (1.)  Great  famine  and  scarcity; 
when  men  had  pulled  all  they  could  to  them,  it  was 
so  little,  that  they  were  still  hungry,  at  least  God 
did  not  bless  it  to  them;  so  that  they  eat  and  have 
not  enough,  Haggai  i.  6.  (2.)  Great  rapine  and 

plunder;  Jusque  datum  sceleri — Iniquity  is  estab¬ 
lished  by  law.  The  hedge  of  property,  "which  is  a 
hedge  of  protection  to  men’s  estates,  shall  be  pluck¬ 
ed  up,  and  every  man  shall  think  all  that  his  own 
which  he  can  lay  his  hands  on;  Vivitur  etc  rapto; 
non  hos/ies  ab  hospite  tutus — They  live  on  the  spoil, 
and  the  rites  of  hospitality  are  all  violated.  And 
yet  when  men  thus  catch  at  that  which  is  none  of 
their  own,  they  are  not  satisfied.  Covetous  desires 
are  insatiable,  and  this  curse  is  entailed  on  that 
which  is  ill  got,  that  it  will  never  do  well. 

These  intestine  broils  should  be  not  only  among 
particular  persons  and  private  families,  but  among 
tlie  tribes;  {v.  21.)  Manasseh  shall  devour  Ephraim, 
and  Ephraim,  Manasseh,  though  they  be  combined 
against  Judah.  They  that  could  unite  against  Ju¬ 
dah,  could  not  unite  with  one  another;  but  that 
sinful  confederacy  of  theirs  against  their  neighbour 
that  dwelt  securely  by  them,  was  justly  punished  by 
this  separation  of  them  one  from  another.  Or,  Ju¬ 
dah  having  sinned  like  Manasseh  and  Ephraim, 
shall  not  only  suffer  with  them,  but  suffer  by  them. 
Note,  Mutual  enmity  and  animosity  among  the  tribes 
of  God’s  Israel,  is  a  sin  that  ripens  them  for  ruin, 
and  a  sad  symptom  of  ruin  hastening  on  apace.  If 
Ephraim  be  against  Manasseh,  and  Manasseh 
against  Ephraim,  and  both  against  Judah,  they  will 
all  soon  become  a  very  easy  prey  to  the  common 
enerav. 

6.  That  though  they  should  be  followed  with  all 
those  judgments,  yet  God  would  not  let  fall  his  con¬ 
troversy  with  them.  It  is  the  heavy  burthen  of 
this  song;  (v.  12,  17,  21.)  For  all  this,  his  anger  is 
not  turned  away,  but  his  hand  is  stretched  out  still; 
(1.)  They  do  nothing  to  turn  away  his  anger;  they 
do  not  repent  and  reform,  they  do  not  humble  them¬ 
selves  and  pray;  none  stand  in  the  gap,  none  answer 
God’s  calls,  nor  comply  with  the  designs  of  his  pro¬ 
vidences,  but  they  are  hardened  and  secure.  (2. ) 
His  anger  therefore  continues  to  burn  against  them, 
and  his  hand  is  stretched  out  still.  The  reason  why 
the  judgments  of  God  are  prolonged,  is,  because  the 
point  is  not  gained,  sinners  are  not  brought  to  re¬ 
pentance  by  them;  the  people  turn  not  to  him  that 
“ mites  them,  and  therefore  he  continues  to  smite 
them;  for  when  God  judges,  he  will  overcome;  and 
the  proudest,  stoutest  sinner  shall  either  bend  or 
break. 

CHAP.  X. 

Thepi-ophet,  in  this  chapter,  is  dealing,  I.  With  the  proud 
oppressors  of  his  people  at  home,  that  abused  their  pow¬ 
er,  to  pervert  justice,  whom  he  would  reckon  with  for 
their  tyranny,  v.  1..4.  If.  With  a  threatening  invnder 
of  bis  people  from  abroad,  Sennacherib  king  of  Assyria; 


concerning  whom,  observe,  1.  The  commission  given 
him  to  invade  Judah,  v.  6,  6.  2.  His  pride  and  insolence 
in  the  execution  of  that  commission,  v.  7..  11,  13  14. 
3.  A  rebuke  given  to  his  haughtiness,  and  a  threatening 
of  his  fall  arid  ruin,  when  he  had  served  the  purposes  for 
which  God  raised  him  up,  v.  12,  15  . .  19.  4.  A  promise 
of  grace  to  the  people  of  God,  to  enable  them  to  bear  up 
under  the  affliction,  and  to  get  good  bv  it,  v.  20  .  .  23.  5. 
Great  encouragement  given  to  them  not  to  fear  this 
threatening  storm,  but  to  hope  that,  though  for  the  pre¬ 
sent  all  the  country  was  put  into  a  great  consternation 
by  it,  it  would  end  well,  in  the  destruction  of  this  formi¬ 
dable  enemy,  v.  24  . .  34.  And  this  is  intended  to  quiet 
the  minds  of  good  people,  in  reference  to  all  the  threat¬ 
ening  efforts  of  the  wrath  of  the  church’s  enemies  :  if  God 
be  for  us,  who  can  be  against  us?  None  to  do  us  any 
harm. 

1.  \  VX-*  unto  them  that  decree  unright- 
T  T  eous  decrees,  and  that  write  gi  iev- 
ousness  which  they  have  prescribed:  2.  To 
turn  aside  the  needy  from  judgment,  and  to 
take  away  the  right  from  the  poor  of  my 
people,  that  widows  may  be  their  prey,  and 
that  they  may  rob  the  fatherless!  3.  And 
what  will  ye  do  in  the  day  of  visitation,  and 
in  the  desolation  which  shall  come  from  far  ? 
to  whom  will  ye  flee  for  help  ?  and  where 
will  ye  leave  your  glory  ?  4.  Without  me 
they  shall  bow  down  under  the  prisoners, 
and  they  shall  fall  under  the  slain.  For  all 
this  his  anger  is  not  turned  away,  but  his 
hand  is  stretched  out  still. 

Whether  they  were  the  princes  and  judges  of  Is¬ 
rael,  or  Judah,  or  both,  that  this  prophet  denounced 
this  wo  against,  is  not  certain:  if  those  of  Israel, 
these  verses  are  to  be  joined  with  the  close  of  tin- 
foregoing  chapter;  which  is  probable  enrugh,  be¬ 
cause  the  burthen  of  that  prophecy  {For  all  this,  his 
anger  is  not.  turned  away)  is  repeated  here,  i>.  4* 
If  those  of  Judah,  they  then  show  what  was  the  par¬ 
ticular  sin  for  which  God  brought  the  Assyrian 
army  upon  them — to  punish  their  magistrates  fi  1 
mal-administration,  which  they  could  not  legally  be 
called  to  account  for.  To  them  he  speaks  wots, 
before  he  speaks  comfort  to  God’s  own  people. 

Here  is,  1.  The  indictment  drawn  up  against 
these  oppressors,  v.  1,  2.  They  are  charged,  (1.) 
With  making  wicked  laws  and  edicts:  they  decree 
unrighteous  decrees,  contrary  to  natural  equity  and 
the  law  of  God;  and  what  mischiefs  they  prescribe, 
those  under  them  write  it,  enrol  it,  and  put  it  into 
the  formality  of  a  law.  Wo  to  the  superior  powers 
that  devise  and  decree  these  decrees!  They  are  not 
too  high  to  be  under  the  divine  check.  And  wo  to 
the  inferior  officers  that  draw  them  up,  and  enter 
them  upon  record!  They  are  not  too  mean  to  be 
within  the  divine  cognizance;  the  writers  that  write 
the  grievousness,  principal  and  accessaries,  shall 
fall  under  the  same  wo.  Note,  It  is  bad  to  do  hurt, 
but  it  is  worse  to  do  it  with  design  and  deliberation, 
to  do  wrong  to  many,  and  to  involve  many  in  the 
guilt  of  doing  wrong.  (2.)  With  perverting  justice 
in  the  execution  of  the  laws  that  were  made:  no 
people  had  statutes  and  judgments  so  righteous  as 
they  had;  and  yet  corrupt  judges  found  ways  to  turn 
aside  the  needy  from  judgment,  to  hinder  them  from 
coming  at  their  right,  and  recovering  what  was 
their  due,  because  they  were  needy  and  poor,  and 
such  as  they  could  get  nothing  by,  nor  expect  any 
bribes  from.  (3.)  With  enriching  themselves  by 
oppressing  those  that  lav  at  their  mercy,  whom  they 
ought  to  have  protected:  they  make  widows’  houses 
and  estates  their  prev,  and  they  rob  the  fatherless 
of  the  little  that  is  left  them,  because  they  have  no 
friend  to  appear  for  them.  Not  to  relieve  them  if 


63 


ISAIAH,  X. 


thev  had  wanted,  net  to  right  them  if  they  were 
wronged,  had  been  crime  enough  in  men  that  had 
wealth  and  power;  but  to  rob  them  because  on  the 
side  of  the  oppressors  there  was  power,  and  the  op¬ 
pressed  had  no  comforter,  (Eccl.  iv.  1.)  is  such  a 
piece  of  barbarity,  as  one  would  think,  none  could 
ever  be  guilty  of,  that  had  either  the  nature  of  a 
man,  or  tlie  name  of  an  Israelite. 

2.  A  challenge  given  them  with  all  their  pride 
and  power  to  outface  the  judgments  of  God;  (v.  3.) 
“II  hat  wilt  ye  do l  To  whom  will  ye Jlee?  You  can 
tr  mpk  upon  the  widows  and  fatherless;  but  what 
•will  ye  do  when  God  riseth  up?”  Job  xxxi.  14. 
Great  men,  who  tyrannize  over  the  poor,  think  they 
sh  .11  never  be  called  to  account  for  it,  shall  never 
hear  of  it  again,  or  fare  the  worse  for  it;  but  shall 
not  God  visit  for  these  things?  Jer.  v.  29.  Will 
there  not  come  a  desolation  upon  those  that  have 
made  others  desolate?  Perhaps  it  may  come  from 
far,  and  therefore  may  be  long  in  coming;  but  it  will 
come  at  last;  reprieves  are  not  pardons;  and,  com¬ 
ing  from  far,  from  a  quarter  whence  it  was  least 
expected,  it  will  be  the  greater  surprise,  and  the 
more  terrible.  Now  what  will  then  become  of  these 
unrighteous  judges?  Now  they  see  their  help  in  the 

ate.  Job  xxxi.  21.  But  to  whom  will  they  then 

ee  for  help?  Note,  ( 1. )  There  is  a  day  of  visitation 
coming,  a  day  of  inquiry  and  discovery,  a  searching 
day,  which  will  bring  to  light,  to  a  true  light,  every 
man,  and  every  man’s  work.  (2.)  The  day  of  vi¬ 
sitation  will  be  a  day  of  desolation  to  all  wicked  peo¬ 
ple,  when  all  their  comforts  and  hopes  will  be  lost 
and  gone,  and  buried  in  ruin,  and  themselves  left 
desolate.  (3. )  Impenitent  sinners  will  be  utterly  at 
a  loss,  and  will  not  know  what  to  do  in  the  day  of 
visitation  and  desolation.  They  cannot  fly  and  hide 
themselves,  cannot  fight  it  out  and  defend  them¬ 
selves;  they  have  no  refuge  in  which  either  to  shel¬ 
ter  themselves  from  the  present  evil,  (To  whom 
will  ye  Jlee  for  help?)  or  to  secure  to  themselves 
better  times  hereafter;  “  Where  will  you  leave  your 
glory,  to  find  it  again  when  the  storm  is  over?”  The 
wealth  they  had  got  was  their  glory,  and  they  had 
no  place  of  safety  in  which  to  deposit  that,  but  they 
should  certainly  see  it  flee  away.  If  our  souls  be 
our  glory,  as  they  ought  to  be,  and  we  make  them 
our  chief  care,  we  know  where  to  leave  them,  and 
into  whose  hands  to  commit  them,  even  those  of  a 
faithful  Creator.  (4.)  It  concerns  us  all  seriously 
to  consider  what  we  shall  do  in  the  day  of  visitation, 
in  a  day  of  affliction,  in  the  day  of  death  and  judg¬ 
ment,  and  to  provide  that  we  may  do  well. 

3.  Sentence  passed  upon  them,  by  which  they  are 
doomed,  some  to  imprisonment  and  captivity;  They 
shall  bow  down  among  the  prisoners,  or  under  them: 
those  that  were  most  highly  elevated  in  sin,  shall 
be  most  heavily  loaded,  and  most  deeply  sunk  in 
trouble;  others  to  death,  they  shall  fall  first,  and  so 
shall  fall  under  the  rest  of  the  slain;  they  that  hod 
trampled  upon  the  widows  and  fatherless,  sh  ill 
themselves  be  trodden  down:  (p>.  4.)  “  This  it  will 
come  to,”  says  God,  “  without  me;  because  you 
have  deserted  me,  and  driven  me  away  from  you.” 
Nothing  but  utter  nun  can  be  expected  by  those 
that  live  without  God  in  the  world;  that  cast  him 
behind  their  back,  and  so  cast  themselves  out  of  his 
protection. 

And  yet,  for  all  this,  his  anger  is  not  turned  away; 
which  intimates  not  only  that  God  will  proceed  in 
his  controversy  with  them,  but  that  they  shall  be 
in  a  continual  dread  of  it;  they  shall,  to  their  un¬ 
speakable  terror,  see  his  hand  still  stretched  out 
against  them,  and  there  shall  remain  nothing  but  a 
fearful  looking-for  of  judgment. 

5.  O  Assyrian,  the  rod  of  mine  anger,  and 
(he  staff  in  their  hand  is  mine  indignation. 


'6.  I  will  send  him  against  a  hypocritical 
nation,  and  against  the  people  of  my  vviatli 
will -I  give  him  a  charge,  to  take  the  spoil, 
and  to  take  the  prey,  and  to  tread  them 
down  like  the  mire  of  the  streets.  7.  How 
beit  he  meaneth  not  so,  neither  doth  his 
heart  think  so;  but  it  is  in  bis  heart  to  de¬ 
stroy  and  cut  off  nations  not  a  few.  8.  For 
he  saith,  Are  not  my  princes  altogethei 
kings?  9.  Is  not  Calno  as  Carchemish  ?  is 
not  Hamath  as  Arpad  ?  is  not  Samaria  as 
Damascus?  10.  As  my  hand  hath  found 
the  kingdoms  of  the  idols,  ami  whose  graven 
images  did  excel  them  of  Jerusalem  and  ot 
Samaria;  11.  Shall  I  not,  as  1  have  done 
unto  Samaria  and  her  idols,  so  do  to  Jerusa¬ 
lem  and  her  idols?  12.  Wherefore  it  shall 
come  to  pass,  that,  when  the  Lord  hath 
performed  his  whole  work  upon  mount  Zion 
and  on  Jerusalem,  I  will  punish  the  fruit  of 
the  stout  heart  of  the  king  of  Assyria,  and 
the  glory  of  his  high  looks.  1 3.  For  he  saith, 
By  the  strength  of  my  hand  I  have  done  it, 
and  by  my  wisdom;  for  I  am  prudent:  and 
I  have  removed  the  bounds  of  the  people, 
and  have  robbed  their  treasures,  and  1  have, 
put  down  the  inhabitants  like  a  valiant  man: 
14.  And  my  hand  hath  found,  as  a  nest,  t he 
riches  of  the  people:  and  as  one  gatheieth 
eggs  that  are  left,  have  I  gathered  all  the 
earth;  and  there  was  none  that  moved  the 
wing,  or  opened  the  mouth,  or  peeped.  15. 
Shall  the  axe  boast  itself  against  him  that 
heweth  therewith  ?  or  shall  the  saw  magnify 
itself  against  him  that  shaketh  it  ?  as  if  the 
rod  should  shake  itself  against  them  that 
lift  it  up,  or  as  if  the  staff  should  lift  up  itself 
as  if  it  were  no  wood.  16.  Therefore  shall 
the  Lord,  the  Lord  of  hosts,  send  among 
his  fat  ones  leanness;  and  under  his  glory 
he  shall  kindle  a  burning  like  tbe  burning 
of  a  fire.  17.  And  the  light  of  Israel  shall 
be  for  a  fire,  and  his  Holy  One  for  a  flam;  : 
and  it  shall  burn  and  devour  his  thorns  and 
his  briers  in  one  day;  18.  And  shall  con¬ 
sume  the  glory  of  his  forest,  and  of  his  fruit- 
fid  field,  both  soul  and  body  :  and  they  shall 
be  as  when  a  standard-bearer  fainteth.  1 9. 
And  the  rest  of  the  trees  of  his  forest  shall 
be  few,  that  a  child  may  write  them. 

The  destruction  of  the  kingdom  of  Israel  by  Shal¬ 
maneser,  king  of  Assyria,  was  foretold  in  the  fore¬ 
going  chapter,  and  it  had  its  accomplishment  in 
the  sixth  vear  of  Hezekiah,  2  Kings  xviii.  10.  It 
was  total  'and  final,  head  and  tail  were  all  cut  off. 
Now  the  correction  of  the  kingdom  of  Judah  by 
Sennacherib,  king  of  Assyria,  is  foretold  in  this 
i  chapter;  and  this  prediction  was  fulfilled  in  the 
fourteenth  year  of  Hezekiah,  when  that  potent 
prince,  encouraged  by  the  successes  of  his  prede¬ 
cessor  against  the  ten  tribes,  came  up  against  -t// 
the  fenced  cities  of  Judah ,  and  took  them ,  and 


G-2  ISAIAH,  X. 


laid  siege  to  Jerusalem,  (2  King  xviii.  13.)  in  con¬ 
sequence  of  which,  we  may  well  suppose  Hezekiah 
and  his  kingdom  were  greatly  alarmed,  though 
there  was  a  good  work  of  reformation  lately  begun 
among  them:  but  it  ended  well,  in  the  confusion  of 
the  Assyrians,  and  the  great  encouragement  of  He¬ 
zekiah  and  his  people  in  their  return  to  God. 

Now  let  us  see  here, 

I.  How  God,  in  his  sovereignty,  deputed  the  king 
of  Assyria  to  be  his  servant,  and  made  use  of  him 
as  a  mere  tool  to  serve  his  own  purposes  with;  (x>.  5, 
f>. )  “  O  Assyrian,  know  this,  that  thou  art  the  rod  of 
mine  anger;  and  I  will  send  thee  to  be  a  scourge  to 
the  people  of  my  •wrath.”  Observe  here,  1.  How 
bad  the  character  of  the  Jews  is,  though  they  ap¬ 
peared  very  good;  they  are  a  hypocritical  nation, 
that  made  a  profession  of  religion,  and,  at  this  time 
particularly,  of  reformation,  but  were  not  truly  re¬ 
ligious,  not  truly  reformed,  not  so  good  as  they  pre¬ 
tended  to  be,  now  that  Hezekiah  had  brought  good¬ 
ness  into  fashion.  When  rulers  are  pious,  and  so  re¬ 
ligion  is  in  reputation,  it  is  common  for  nations  to  be 
hypocritical;  they  are  a  profane  nation;  so  some  read 
it.  Hezekiah  had  in  a  great  measure  cured  them 
of  their  idolatry,  and  now  they  run  into  prof  ane- 
ness;  nay,  hypocrisy  is  profaneness:  none  profane 
the  name  of  God  so  much  as  those  who  are  called 
by  that  name,  and  call  upon  it,  and  yet  live  in  sin. 
Being  a  profane  hypocritical  nation,  they  are  the 
people  of  God’s  wrath;  they  lie  under  his  wrath, 
and  are  likely  to  be  consumed  by  it.  Note,  Hypocri¬ 
tical  nations  are  the  people  of  God’s  wrath:  nothing 
is  more  offensive  to  God  than  dissimulation  in  re¬ 
ligion.  See  what  a  change  sin  made:  they  that  had 
been  God’s  chosen  and  hallowed  people,  above  all, 
were  now  become  the  people  of  his  wrath,  See 
Amos  iii.  2.  2.  How  mean  the  character  of  the  As¬ 
syrian  is,  though  he  appeared  very  great;  he  is  but 
the  rod  of  God’s  anger,  an  instrument  God  is  pleas¬ 
ed  to  make  use  of  for  the  chastening  of  his  people, 
that,  being  thus  chastened  of  the  Lord,  they  may 
not  be  condemned  with  the  world.  Note,  The  ty¬ 
rants  of  the  world  are  but  tools  of  Providence.  Men 
are  God’s  hand,  his  sword  sometimes,  to  kill  and 
slay,  Ps.  xvii.  13,  14.  At  other  times,  they  are  his 
rod  to  correct.  The  staff  in  their  hand,  wherewith 
thev  smite  his  people,  is  his  indignation;  it  is  his 
wrath  that  puts  the  staff  into  their  hand,  and  ena¬ 
bles  them  to  deal  blows  at  pleasure  among  such  as 
thought  themselves  a  match  for  them.  Sometimes 
God  makes  an  idolatrous  nation,  that  serves  him  not 
at  all,  a  scourge  to  an  hypocritical  nation,  that  serves 
him  not  in  sincerity  and  truth. 

The  Assyrian  is"  called  the  rod  of  God’s  anger, 
because  he  is  employed  by  him.  (1. )  From  him  his 
power  is  derived;  I  will  send  him,  I  will  give  him 
a  charge.  Note,  All  the  power  that  wicked  men 
have,  though  they  often  use  it  against  God,  they  al- 
wavs  receive  from  him.  Pilate  could  have  no  pow¬ 
er  against  Christ,  unless  it  were  given  him  from 
above,  John  xix.  11.  (2.)  By  him  the  exercise  of 

that  power  is  directed.  The  Assyrian  is  to  take  the 
spoil,  and  to  take  the  prey,  not  to  shed  any  blood; 
we  read  not  of  any  slain,  but  he  is  to  plunder  the 
country,  rifle  the  houses,  drive  the  cattle,  and  strip 
them  of  all  their  wealth  and  ornaments,  and  tread 
them  down  like  the  mire  of  the  streets.  When  God’s 
professing  people  wallow  in  the  mire  of  sin,  it  is  just 
with  God  to  suffer  their  enemies  to  tread  upon  them 
like  mire.  But  why  must  the  Assyrian  prevail  thus 
against  them?  Not  that  they  might  be  ruined,  but 
'hat  they  might  be  thoroughly  reformed. 

II.  See  how  the  king  of  Assyria,  in  his  pride, 
magnified  himself  as  his  own  master,  and  pretend¬ 
ed  to  be  absolute,  and  above  all  control;  to  act  pure¬ 
ly  according  to  his  own  will,  and  for  his  own  honour. 
God  ordained  him  for  judgment,  even  the  mighty 


[  God  established  him  for  correction,  (Hab.  i.  12.)  to 
be  an  instrument  of  bringing  his  people  to  repent¬ 
ance;  howbeit,  he  means  not  so,  nor  does  his  heart 
think  so,  v.  7.  He  does  not  think  that  he  is  either 
j  God’s  servant,  or  Israel’s  friend;  either  that  he  can 
do  no  more  than  God  will  let  him,  or  that  he  shall 
do  no  more  than  God  will  make  to  work  for  the 
good  of  his  people.  God  designs  to  correct  his  peo- 
le  for,  and  so  to  cure  them  of,  their  hypocrisy,  and 
ring  them  nearer  to  him ;  but  was  that  Sennache- 
I  rib’s  design?  No,  it  was  the  furthest  thing  from 
his  thoughts:  he  means  not  so.  Note,  1.  The  wise 
God  often  makes  even  the  sinful  passions  and  pro¬ 
jects  of  men  subservient  to  his  own  great  and  holy 
purposes.  2.  When  God  makes  use  of  men  as  in¬ 
struments  in  his  hand  to  do  his  work,  it  is  very 
common  for  him  to  mean  one  thing,  and  them  to 
mean  another;  nav,  for  them  to  mean  the  quite  con¬ 
trary  to  what  he  intends.  What  Joseph’s  brethren 
designed  for  hurt,  God  overruled  for  good,  Gen.  1. 
20.  Sec  Mic.  iv.  11,  12.  Men  have  their  ends,  and 
God  has  his,  but  we  are  sure  the  cotinsel  of  the  Lord 
shall  stand.  But  what  is  it  the  proud  Assyrian  aims 
at?  The  heart  of  kings  is  unsearchable,  but  God 
knew  what  was  in  his  heart:  he  designs  nothing  but 
to  destroy,  and  to  cut  off  nations  not  a  few,  and  to 
make  himself  master  of  them.  (1.)  He  designs  to 
gratify  his  own  cruelty;  nothing  will  serve  but  to 
destroy,  and  cut  off.  He  hopes  to  regale  himself 
with  blood  and  slaughter;  that  of  particular  persons 
will  not  suffice,  he  must  cut  off  nations.  It  is  below 
him  to  deal  by  retail,  he  traffics  in  murder  by  whole¬ 
sale;  nations,  and  those  not  a  few,  must  have  but  one 
neck,  which  he  will  have  the  pleasure  of  cutting  off. 
(2.)  He  designs  to  gratify  his  own  covetousness  and 
ambition,  to  set  up  for  a  universal  monarch,  and 
to  gather  unto  him  all  nations,  Hab.  ii.  5.  An  in¬ 
satiable  desire  of  wealth  and  dominion,  is  that  which 
carries  him  on  in  this  undertaking. 

The  prophet  here  brings  him  in  vaunting  and 
hectoring;  and  by  bis  general’s  letter  to  Hezekiah, 
written  in  his  name,  vainglory  and  arrogance  seem 
to  have  entered  very  far  into  the  spirit  and  genius 
of  the  man.  His  haughtiness  and  presumption  are 
here  described  very  largely,  and  his  very  language 
copied  out,  partly  to  represent  him  as  ridiculous, 
and  partly  to  assure  the  people  of  God  that  he 
would  be  brought  down;  for  that  maxim  gene¬ 
rally  holds  true  that  pride  goes  before  destruc- 
tion.  It  also  intimates,  that  God  takes  notice,  and 
keeps  an  account,  of  all  men’s  proud  and  haughty 
words,  with  which  they  set  heaven  and  earth  at  de¬ 
fiance.  They  that  speak  great  swelling  words  of 
vanity,  shall  hear  of  them  again. 

[1.]  He  boasts  what  great  things  he  has  done  to 
other  nations.  First,  He  has  made  their  kings  his 
courtiers;  (u.  8.)  “My  princes  are  altogether  kings; 
those  that  are  now  my  princes,  are  such  as  have 
been  kings.”  Or,  he  means  that  he  had  raised  his 
throne  to  that  degree,  that  his  servants,  and  those 
that  were  in  command  under  him,  were  as  great, 
and  lived  in  as  much  pomp,  as  the  kings  of  other 
countries.  Or,  those  that  were  absolute  princes  in 
their  own  dominions,  held  their  crowns  under  him, 
and  did  him  homage.  This  was  a  vainglorious 
boast;  but  how  great  is  our  God  whom  we  serve, 
who  is  indeed  King  of  kings,  and  whose  subjects  are 
made  to  him  kings!  Rev.  i.  6.  Secondly,  He  has 
made  himself  master  of  their  cities:  he  names  se¬ 
veral,  (v.  9.)  that  were  all  alike  reduced  by  him; 
Calno  soon  yielded  as  Carchemish  did;  Hanvth 
could  not  hold  out  any  more  than  Arpad;  and  Sa¬ 
maria  is  become  his,  as  well  as  Damascus.  To  sup¬ 
port  his  boasts,  he  is  obliged  to  bring  the  victories 
of  his  predecessor  into  the  account;  for  it  was  he 
i  that  conquered  Samaria,  not  Sennacherib.  Thirdly , 

!  He  had  beer,  too  hard  for  their  idols,  their  tute’.ai 


ISAIAH,  X. 


63 


gods,  and  had  found  out  the  kingdoms  ot  their  idols, 
and  found  out  ways  to  make  them  his  own,  v.  10. 
Their  kingdoms  took  denominations  from  the  idols 
they  worshipped ;  the  Moabites  are  called  the  peo¬ 
ple  of  Chemosh,  (Jer.  xlviii.  46.)  because  they  ima¬ 
gined  their  gods  were  their  patrons  and  protectors; 
and  therefore  Sennacherib  vainly  imagines  that 
every  conquest  of  a  kingdom  was  the  conquest  of  a 
god.  Fourthly,  He  had  enlarged  his  own  domi¬ 
nions,  and  removed  the  bounds  of  the  people,  (xa 
13.)  enclosing  many  large  territories  within  the  li¬ 
mits  of  his  own  kingdom,  and  shifting  a  great  way 
further  the  ancient  landmarks  which  his  fathers 
had  set;  he  could  not  bear  to  be  hemmed  in  so  close, 
but  must  have  more  room  to  thrive.  By  his  re¬ 
moving  the  border  of  the  people,  Mr.  White  un¬ 
derstands  his  arbitrary  transplanting  of  colonies 
from  pi  ice  to  place,  which  was  the  constant  prac¬ 
tice  of  tiie  Assyrians  in  all  their  conquests;  tins  is  a 
probable  interpretation.  Fifthly,  He  had  enriched 
himself  with  their  wealth,  and  brought  it  into  his 
own  exchequer;  I'have  robbed  their  treasures.  In 
that,  he  said  truly.  Great  conquerors  are  often  no 
better  than  great  robbers.  Lastly,  He  had  master¬ 
ed  all  the  opposition  he  met  with;  “I  have  put 
down  the  inhabitants  as  a  valiant  man:  those  that 
sat  high,  and  thought  they  sat  firm,  I  have  hum¬ 
bled,  and  made  to  come  down.” 

He  boasts,  1.  That  he  had  done  all  this  by  his 
own  policy  and  power;  (y.  13.)  By  the  strength  of 
my  hand,  for  I  am  valiant;  and  by  my  wisdom,  for 
I  am  prudent:  not  by  the  permission  of  providence, 
and  the  blessing  of  God:  he  knows  not  that  it  is  God 
that  makes  him  what  he  is,  and  puts  the  staff  into 
his  hand,  but  sacrifices  to  hit  own  net,  Hab.  i.  16. 
It  is  all  gotten  by  my  might,  and  the  power  of  my 
hand,  Deut.  viii.  17.  Downright  atheism  and  pro¬ 
faneness,  as  well  as  pride  and  vanity,  are  at  the  bot¬ 
tom  of  men’s  attributing  their  prosperity  and  suc¬ 
cess  thus  to  themselves  and  their  own  conduct,  and 
raising  their  own  character  upon  it.  2.  That  he 
had  done  all  this  with  a  great  deal  of  ease,  and  had 
made  but  a  sport  and  diversion  of  it,  as  if  he  had 
been  taking  birds’  nests;  (xj.  14.)  My  hand  has 
found  as  a  nest  the  riches  of  the  people;  and  when 
lie  had  found  them,  there  was  no  more  difficulty  in 
taking  them  than  in  rifling  a  nest,  nor  anv  more  re¬ 
luctance  or  regret  within  his  own  breast,  in  destroy¬ 
ing  families  and  cities,  than  in  destroying  crows’ 
nests:  killing  children  was  no  more  to  him  than 
killing  birds.  “  As  one  gathers  the  eggs  that  are 
left  in  the  nest  by  the  dam,  so  easily  have  I  gather¬ 
ed  all  the  earth ;”  (like  Alexander,  he  thought  he 
had  conquered  the  world;)  and  whatever  prey  he 
seized,  there  was  none  that  moved  the  wing,  or 
opened  the  mouth,  or  peeped,  as  birds  do  when  their 
nests  are  rifled;  they  durst  not  make  any  opposition, 
no,  nor  any  complaint;  such  awe  did  they  stand  in 
of  this  mighty  conqueror;  they  were  so  weak,  that 
they  knew  it  was  to  no  purpose  to  resist;  and  he 
was  so  arbitrary,  that  they  knew  it  was  to  no  pur¬ 
pose  to  complain.  Strimge!  that  ever  men,  who 
were  made  to  do  good,  should  take  a  pride  and  a 
pleasure  in  doing  wrong,  and  doing  mischief  to  all 
about  them  without  control;  and  should  reckon  that 
their  glory  which  is  their  shame!  But  their  day  will 
come  to  fall,  who  thus  make  themselves  the  terror 
of  the  mighty,  and  much  more  of  the  feeble,  in  the 
land  o  f  the  living. 

[2.]  He  threatens  what  he  will  do  to  Jerusalem, 
which  he  was  now  about  to  lay  siege  to,  v.  10.  11. 
He  would  master  Jerusalem  and  her  idols,  as  he  had 
Hibdued  other  places  and  their  idols,  particularly 
Samaria.  First,  He  blasphemously  calls  the  God 
•or  Israel  an  idol,  and  sets  him  on  a  level  with  the 
f  lse  cods  of  other  nations,  as  if  none  were  the  true 
God  but  Mithras,  the  sun,  whom  he  worshipped. 


See  how  ignorant  he  was,  and  then  we  shall  the  less 
wonder  that  he  was  so  proud.  Secondly,  He  pre 
fers  the  graven  images  of  other  countries  before 
those  of  Jerusalem  and  Samaria,  when  he  might 
have  known  that  the  worshippers  of  the  God  of  Is 
racl  were  expressly  forbidden  to  make  any  graven 
images,  and  if  any  did,  it  must  be  by  stealth,  and 
therefore  they  could  not  be  so  rich  and  pompous  as 
those  of  other  nations.  If  he  mean  the  ark  and  the 
mercy-seat,  he  speaks  like  himself,  very  foolishly, 
and  as  one  that  judged  by  the  sight  of  the  eye,  and 
might  therefore  be  easily  deceived  in  matters  of  spi¬ 
ritual  concern.  Those  who  make  external  pomp 
and  splendour  a  mark  of  the  true  church,  go  by  the 
same  rule.  Thirdly,  Because  he  had  conquered 
Samaria,  he  concludes  Jerusalem  would  fall  of 
course;  “shall  not  I  do  so  to  Jerusalem?  Can  I  not 
as  easily,  and  may  I  not  as  justly?”  But  it  did  not 
follow;  for  Jerusalem  adhered  to  her  God,  whereas 
Samaria  had  forsaken  him. 

III.  See  how  God,  in  his  Justice,  rebukes  his 
pride,  and  reads  his  doom.  We  have  heard  what 
the  great  king,  the  king  of  Assyria,  says,  and  how 
big  he  talks;  let  us  now  hear  what  the  great  God 
has  to  say  by  his  servant  the  prophet,  and  we  shall 
find  that,  wherein  he  deals  proudly,  God  is  above 
him. 

1.  He  shows  the  vanitv  of  his  insolent  and  auda¬ 
cious  boasts;  (xi.  15.)  Shall  the  are  boast  itself 
against  him  that  hews  therewith?  Or,  Shall  the  saw 
magnify  itself  against  him  that  draws  it?  So  absurd 
are  the  boasts  of  this  proud  man.  “  O  what  a  dust 
do  I  make!”  said  the  fly  upon  the  cart-wheel  in  the 
fable.  “What  destruction  do  I  make  among  the 
trees!”  says  the  axe.  Two  ways  the  axe  may  be 
said  to  boast  itself  against  him  that  hews  with  it; 
( 1. )  By  way  of  resistance  and  opposition.  Senna¬ 
cherib  blasphemed  God,  insulted  him,  threatened 
to  serve  him  as  he  had  served  the  gods  of  the  na¬ 
tions;  now  this  was  as  if  the  axe  should  fly  in  the 
face  of  him  that  hews  with  it.  The  tool  striving 
with  the  workman  is  no  less  absurd  than  the  clay 
striving  with  the  potter:  and  as  it  is  a  thing  not  to 
be  justified,  that  men  should  fight  against  God  with 
the  wit,  and  wealth,  and  power,  which  he  gives 
them,  so  it  is  a  thing  not  to  De  suffered;  but  if  men 
will  be  thus  proud  and  daring,  and  bid  defiance  to 
all  that  is  just  and  sacred,  let  them  expect  that  God 
will  reckon  with  them;  the  more  insolent  they  are, 
the  surer  and  sorer  will  their  ruin  be.  (2.)  By  way 
of  rivalship  and  competition.  Shall  the  axe  take  to 
itself  the  praise  of  the  work  it  is  employed  in?  So 
senseless,  so  absurd,  was  it  for  Sennacherib  to  say. 
By  the  strength  of  my  hand  I  have  done  it,  and  by 
my  wisdom,  v.  13.  It  is  as  if  the  rod,  when  it  is 
shaken,  should  boast  that  it  guides  the  hand  which 
shakes  it;  whereas  when  the  staff  is  lifted  up,  is  it 
not  wood  still?  So  the  last  clause  may  be  read.  If 
it  be  an  ensign  of  authority,  (as  the  nobles  of  the 
people  carried  staves,  Numb.  xxi.  18.)  if  it  be  an 
instrument  of  service,  either  to  support  a  weak  man, 
or  to  correct  a  bad  man,  still  it  is  wood,  and  can  do 
nothing  but  as  it  is  directed  by  him  that  uses  it. 
The  psalmist  prays  that  God  would  make  the  na¬ 
tions  know  that  they  were  'but  men,  (Ps.  ix.  20.)  the 
staff  to  know  that  if  is  but  wood. 

2.  He  foretells  his  fall  and  ruin. 

(1.)  That  when  God  hath  done  his  work  by  him, 
he  will  then  do  his  work  upon  him,  x'.  12.  For  the 
comfort  of  the  people  of  God,  in  refer;  nee  to  Sen¬ 
nacherib’s  invasion,  though  it  was  a  dismal  time 
with  them,  let  them  know,  [1.]  That  God  designed 
to  do  good  in  7.ion  and  Jerusalem  by  his  providence; 
there  is  a  work  to  be  done  Upon  them,  which  God 
intends,  and  which  he  will  perform.  Note,  When 
God  lets  loose  the  enemies  of  his  church  and  peo¬ 
ple,  and  suffers  them  for  a  time  to  prevail,  it  is  in 


ISAIAH,  X. 


fi4 

order  tn  the  performing  of  some  great  good  work 
upon  them ;  and  when  that  is  done,  then,  and  not  till 
then,  he  will  work  deliverance  for  them.  When 
God  brings  his  people  into  trouble,  it  is  to  try  them, 
(Dan.  xi.  35.)  to  bring  sin  to  their  remembrance, 
and  humble  them  for  it,  and  to  awaken  them  to  a 
sense  of  their  duty,  to  teach  them  to  pray,  and  to 
love  and  help  one  another;  and  this  must  be  the 
fruit,  even  the  taking  aiuay  of  sin,  ch.  xxvii.  9. 
When  these  points  are,  in  some  measure,  gained  by 
the  affliction,  it  shall  be  removed  in  mercy,  (Lev. 
xxvi.  41,  42.)  otherwise  not;  for  as  the  word,  so  the 
rod,  shall  accomplish  that  for  which  God  sends  it. 
[2.]  That  when  God  had  wrought  this  work  of 
grace  for  his  people,  he  would  work  a  work  of 
wrath  and  vengeance  upon  their  invaders;  I  will 
punish  the  fruit  of  the  stout  heart  of  the  king  of 
Assyria.  His  big  words  are  here  said  to  come  from 
his  stout  heart,  and  they  are  the  fruit  of  it,  for  out 
of  the  abundance  of  the  heart  the  mouth  speaks;  no¬ 
tice  is  taken  too  of  the  glory,  of  his  high  looks,  for 
a  proud  look  is  the  indication  of  a  proud  spirit. 
The  enemies  of  the  church  are  commonly  very  high 
and  haughty;  but,  sooner  or  later,  God  will  reckon 
for  that.  He  glories  in  it  as  an  incontestable  proof 
of  his  power  and  sovereignty,  that  he  looks  upon 
proud  men,  and  abases  them,  Job  xl.  11,  &c. 

(2.)  That  how  threatening  soever  this  attempt 
was  upon  Zion  and  Jerusalem,  it  should  certainly  be 
baffled  and  broken,  and  come  to  nothing,  and  he 
should  not  be  able  to  bring  to  pass  his  enterprise,  v. 
16 — 19.  Observe, 

[1.]  Who  it  is  that  undertakes  his  destruction, 
and  will  be  the  Author  of  it;  not  Hezekiah,  or  his 
princes,  or  the  militia  of  Judah  and  Jerusalem; 
(what  can  they  do  against  such  a  potent  force?)  but 
God  himself  will  do  it,  as  the  Lord  of  hosts,  and  as 
the  I  right  of  Israel.  First,  We  are  sure  he  can  do 
it,  for  he  is  the  Lord  of  hosts,  of  all  the  hosts  of 
heaven  and  earth;  all  the  creatures  are  at  his  com¬ 
mand,  he  makes  what  use  he  pleases  of  them,  and 
lays  what  restraints  he  pleases  on  them.  He  is  the 
Lord  of  the  hosts  both  of  Judah  and  of  Assyria, 
and  can  give  the  victory  to  which  he  pleases.  Let 
us  not  fear  the  hosts  of  any  enemy,  if  we  have  the 
Lord  of  hosts  for  us.  Secondly,  We  have  reason  to 
hope  he  will  do  it,  for  he  is  the  Light  of  Israel,  and 
his  Holy  One.  God  is  Light;  in  him  are . perfect 
brightness,  purity,  and  happiness.  He  is  Light,  for 
he  is  the  Holy  One;  his  holiness  is  his  glory.  He  is 
Israel’s  Light,  to  direct  and  counsel  his  people,  to 
favour  and  countenance  them,  and  so  to  rejoice  and 
comfort  them  in  the  worst  of  times.  He  is  their 
Holy  One,  for  he  is  in  covenant  with  them ;  his  ho¬ 
liness  is  engaged  and  employed  for  them.  God’s 
holiness  is  the  saints’ comfort;  they  give  thanks  at 
the  remembrance  of  it,  and  with  a  great  deal  of  plea¬ 
sure  call  him  their  Holy  One,  Hab.  i.  12. 

[2.1  How  this  destruction  is  represented.  It  shall 
be.  First,  As  a  consumption  of  the  body  by  a  dis¬ 
ease;  The  Isjrd  shall  send  leanness  among  his  fat¬ 
nesses,  or  his  fat  ones.  His  numerous  army,  that  was 
like  a  body  covered  with  fatness,  shall  be  diminish¬ 
ed,  and  waste  away,  and  become  like  .a  skeleton. 
Secondly,  as  a  consumption  of  buildings,  or  trees 
and  bushes,  bv  fire;  Under  his  glory,  that  very  thing 
which  he  glories  in,  he  will  kindle  a  burning,  as  the 
burning  of  a  ,/ire,  which  shall  lay  his  army  in  ruins, 
as  suddenly  as  a  raging  fire  lays  a  stately  house 
in  ashes.  Some  make  it  an  allusion  to  the  fire  kin¬ 
dled  under  the  sacrifices,  for  proud  sinners  fall  as 
sacrifices  to  divine  justice.  Observe,  1.  How  this 
fire  shall  be  kindled,  x>,  17.  The  same  God  that  is 
a  rejoicing  Light  to  them  that  serve  him  faithfully, 
will  be  a  consuming  Fire  to  them  that  trifle  with 
him,  or  rebel  against  him;  the  Light  of  Israel  shall 
be  a  Fire  to  the  Assyrians,  as  the  same  pillar  ol 


cloud  was  a  light  to  the  Israelites,  and  a  terror  to 
the  Egyptians,  in  the  Red  sea.  What  can  oppose 
what  can  extinguish,  such  a  fire?  2.  What  deso¬ 
lation  it  shall  make;  It  shall  burn  and  devour  its 
thorns  and  briers,  his  officers  and  soldiers,  which 
are  of  little  worth,  and  vexations  to  God’s  Israel,  as 
thorns  and  briers,  whose  end  is  to  be  burned,  and 
which  are  easily  and  quickly  consumed  by  a  de¬ 
vouring  fire;  (ch.  xxvii.  4.)  Who  would  set  the  bri¬ 
ers  and  thorns  against  me  in  battle ?  They  will  be 
so  far  from  stopping  the  fire,  that  they  will  inflame 
it;  I  would  go  through  them  and  bum  them  toge 
ther;  they  shall  be  devoured  in  one  day,  all  cut  off 
in  an  instant.  When  they  cried  not  only  Peace  and 
safety,  but  Victory  and  triumph,  then  sudden  de¬ 
struction  came;  it  came  surprisingly,  and  was  cc  m- 
pleted  in  a  little  time.  Even  the  glory  of  his  forest, 
\v.  18.)  the  choice  troops  of  his  army,  the  veterans, 
the  troops  of  the  household,  the  bravest  regiments 
he  had,  that  he  was  most  proud  of,  and  depended 
most  upon,  that  he  values,  as  men  do  their  timber- 
trees,  the  glory  of  their  forest,  or  their  fruit-trees, 
the  glory  of  their  Carmel;  those  shall  be  put  as  bri¬ 
ers  and  thorns  before  the  fire ;  they  shall  be  consum¬ 
ed  both  soul  and  body,  entirely  consumed,  not  only 
a  limb  burned,  but  life  taken  away.  Note,  God 
is  able  to  destroy  both  soul  and  body,  and  there¬ 
fore  we  should  fear  him  more  than  man,  who  can 
but  kill  the  body;  great  armies  before  him  are  but 
as  great  woods,  which  he  can  fell  or  fire  when  he 
pleases. 

And  what  would  be  the  effect  of  this  great  slaugh 
ter?  The  prophet  tells  us,  (1.)  That  the  army 
would  hereby,  be  reduced  to  a  very  small  number; 
The  rest  of  the  trees  of  his  forest  shall  be  few!  verv 
few  shall  escape  the  sword  of  the  destroying  angel, 
so  few  that  there  needs  no  artist,  no  muster-master, 
or  secretary  of  war,  to  take  an  account  of  them, 
for  even  a  child  may  soon  reckon  the  numbers  of 
them,  and  write  the  names  of  them.  (2.)  That 
those  few  who  remained,  should  be  quite  dispirited; 
They  shall  be  as  when  a  standard-bearer  faints; 
when  he  either  falls  or  flees,  and  his  colours  are 
taken  by  the  enemy,  this  discourages  the  whole 
armv,  and  puts  them  all  into  confusion.  Upon  the 
whole  matter  we  must  say,  Who  is  able  to  stand  be¬ 
fore  this  great  and  holy  Lord  God ? 

20.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass  in  that  day, 
that  the  remnant  of  Israel,  and  such  as  are 
escaped  of  the  house  of  Jacob,  shall  no 
more  again  stay  upon  him  that  smote  them ; 
but  shall  stay  upon  the  Lord,  the  Holy 
One  of  Israel,  in  truth.  21.  The  remnant 
shall  return,  rrrn  the  remnant  of  Jacob,  unto 
the  mighty  God.  22.  For  though  thy  peo¬ 
ple  Israel  be  as  the  sand  of  the  sea,  ijpA  a 
remnant  of  them  shall  return:  the  consump¬ 
tion  decreed  shall  overflow  with  righteous¬ 
ness.  23.  For  the  Lord  God  of  hosts  shall 
make  a  consumption,  even  determined,  in 
the  midst  of  all  the  land. 

The  prophet  had  said,  (v.  12.)  that  the  Lord 
would  perform  his  whole  work  upon  Afount  Zion 
and  upon  'Jerusalem,  by  Sennacherib’s  invading  of 
the  land;  now  here  we  are  told  what  that  work 
should  be.  A  two-fold  work: 

1.  The  conversion  of  some,  tn  whom  this  provi¬ 
dence  should  be  sanctified,  and  yield  the  peaceable 
fruit  of  righteousness,  though  for  the  present  it  was 
not  joyous,  but  grievous;  these  are  but  a  remnant; 
l|  (i>.  22i)  the  remnant  of  Israel,  (v.  20.)  the  remnant 
11  of  Jacob,  (v.  21.)  but  a  very  few  in  comparison  with 


ISAIAH,  X. 


the  vast  numbers  of  the  people  of  Israel,  which 
were  as  the  sancl  of  the  sea.  Note,  Converting- 
work  is  wrought  but  on  a  remnant,  who  are  distin¬ 
guished  from  the  rest,  and  set  apart  for  God.  When 
we  see  how  populous  Israel  is,  how  numerous  the 
members  of  the  visible  church  are,  as  the  sand  of 
the  sea,  and  yet  consider  that  of  those  a  remnant 
only  shall  be  saved,  that  of  the  many  that  are  called 
there  are  but  few  chosen,  we  shall  surely  strive  to 
enter  in  at  the  strait  gate,  and  fear  lest  we  seem  to 
come  short.  The  remnant  of  Israel  are  said  to  be 
such  as  are  escaped  of  the  house  of  Jacob,  such  as 
escaped  the  corruptions  of  the  house  of  Jacob,  and 
kept  their  integrity  in  times  of  common  apostacy; 
and  that  was  a  lair  escape.  And  therefore  they  es¬ 
cape  the  desolations  of  that  house,  and  shall  be  pre¬ 
served  in  safety,  in  times  of  common  calamity;  and 
that  also  will  be  a  fair  and  narrow  escape.  Their  I 
lives  shall  be  given  them  for  a  prey;  (Jer.  xlv.  5.) 
the  righteous  scarcely  are  saved. 

Now,  (1.)  This  remnant  shall  come  off  from  all 
confidence  in  an  arm  of  flesh,  this  providence  shall 
cure  them  of  that;  they  shall  no  more  again  stay 
ufion  him  that  smote  them,  shall  never  depend  upon 
the  Assyrians,  as  they  have  done,  for  help  against 
their  other  enemies,  finding  that  they  are  themselves 
their  worst  enemies;  Ictus  piscator  sap.it — Suffer¬ 
ings  teach  caution.  They  have  now  learned,  by 
dear-bought  experience,  the  folly  of  leaning  upon 
that  staff  as  a  stay  to  them,  which  may  perhaps 
prove  a  staff  to  beat  them ;  it  is  a  part  of  the  co¬ 
venant  of  a  returning  people,  (Hos.  xiv.  3.)  As¬ 
syria  shall  not  save  us.  Note,  By  our  afflictions 
we  may  learn  not  to  make  creatures  our  confidence. 

(2.)  They  shall  come  home  to  God,  to  the  mighty 
God,  (one  of  the  names  given  to  the  Messiah,  c/i. 
ix.  6.)  to  the  Holy  One  of  Israel.  The  remnant 
shall  return;  (that  was  signified  by  the  name  of  the 
prophet’s  son,  Shear-jashub,  ch.  vii.  3.)  even  the 
remnant  of  Jacob;  they  shall  return  after  the  rais¬ 
ing  of  the  siege  of  Jerusalem,  not  only  to  the  quiet 
possession  of  their  houses  and  lands,  but  to  God  and 
to  their  duty;  they  shall  repent  and  pray,  and  seek 
his  face,  and  reform  their  lives.  The  remnant  that 
escape,  are  a  returning  remnant;  they  shall  return 
to  God,  and  shall  stay  upon  him.  Note,  Those  only 
may  with  comfort  stay  upon  God,  that  return  to 
him;  then  may  we  have  a  humble  confidence  in 
God,  when  we  make  conscience  of  our  duty  to  him. 
They  shall  stay  upon  the  Holy  One  of  Israel,  in 
truth,  and  not  in  pretence  and  profession  only.  This 
promise  of  the  conversion  and  salvation  of  a  rem¬ 
nant  of  Israel  now,  is  applied  by  the  apostle,  (Rom. 
ix.  27.)  to  the  remnant  of  the  Jews,  which,  at  the 
first  preaching  of  the  gospel,  received  and  enter¬ 
tained  it:  and  sufficiently  proves,  that  it  was  no  new 
thing  for  God  to  abandon  to  ruin  a  great  many  of 
the  seed  of  Abraham,  and  yet  preserve  his  pro¬ 
mise  to  Abraham  in  full  force  and  virtue;  for  so  it 
was  now.  The  number  of  the  children  of  Israel  was  as 
the  sand  of  the  sea,  (according  to  the  promise,  Gen. 
xxii.  17.)  and  yet  only  a  remnant  shall  be  saved. 

2.  The  consumption  of  others;  The  Lord  God  of 
hosts  shall  make  a  consumption;  (v.  23.)  this  is  not 
meant  (as  that  v.  18.)  of  the  consumption  of  the  As¬ 
syrian  army,  but  of  the  consumption  of  the  estates 
and  families  of  many  of  the  Jews  by  the  Assyrian 
army.  This  is  taken  notice  of,  to  magnify  the  pow¬ 
er  and  goodness  of  God  in  the  escape  of  the  distin¬ 
guished  remnant,  and  to  let  us  know  what  shall  be¬ 
come  of  those  that  will  not  return  to  God;  they  shall 
be  wasted  away  by  this  consumption,  this  general 
decay  in  the  midst  of  the  land.  Observe,  (1.)  It  is 
a  consumption  of  God’s  own  making;  he  is  the  au¬ 
thor  of  it;  the  Lord  God  of  hosts,  whom  none  can 
resist,  he  shall  make  this  consumption.  (2.)  It  is 
decreed,  it  is  not  the  product  of  a  sudden  resolve,  but 
VOL.  IV — 1 


|j  was  before  ordained;  it  is  determined,  not  onlv  tha* 
i  there  shall  be  such  a  consumption,  but  it  is  cut  out, 

'  (so  the  word  is,)  it  is  particularly  appointed,  how 
tar  it  shall  extend,  and  how  long  it  shall  continue, 
who  shall  be  consumed  by  it,  and  who  not.  (3.)  It 
is  an  overflowing  consumption,  that  shall  overspread 
the  land,  and,  like  a  mighty  torrent  or  inundation, 
bear  down  all  before  it.  (4.  )  Though  it  overflows, 
it  is  not  at  random,  but  in  righteousness,  which  sig¬ 
nifies  both  wisdom  and  equity.  God  will  justlv 
bring  this  consumption  upon  a  provoking  people, 
but  he  will  wisely  and  graciously  set  bounds  to  it; 
Hitherto  it  shall  come,  and  no  further. 

24.  Therefore  llius  saith  the  Lord  God 
of  hosts,  O  my  people  that  dwellest  in  Zion, 
be  not  afraid  of  the  Assyrian;  he  shall  smite 
thee  with  a  rod,  and  shall  lift  up  his  staff 
against  thee,  after  the  manner  of  Egypt. 
25.  For  yet  a  very  little  while,  and  the  in¬ 
dignation  shall  cease,  and  mine  anger,  in 
their  destruction.  '  26.  And  the  Lord  of 
hosts  shall  stir  up  a  scourge  for  him  accord¬ 
ing  to  the  slaughter  of  Midian  at  the  rock 
of  Oreb :  and  as  his  rod  was  upon  the  sea. 
so  shall  he  lift  it  up  after  the  manner  of 
Egypt.  27.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass  in 
that  day,  that  his  burden  shall  be  taken 
away  from  off  thy  shoulder,  and  his  yoke 
from  off  thy  neck,  and  the  yoke  shall  be 
destroyed  because  of  the  anointing.  28. 
He  is  come  to  Aiath,  he  is  passed  to  JVJi- 
gron;  at  Michmash  he  hath  laid  up  his 
carriages:  29.  They  are  gone  over  the  pas¬ 
sage:  they  have  taken  up  their  lodging  at 
Geba;  Ramah  is  afraid;  Gibeah  of  Saul  is 
fled.  30.  Lift  up  thy  voice,  O  daughter  of 
Gallim;  cause  it  to  be  heard  unto  Laish, 
O  poor  Anathoth.  31.  Madmenah  is  re¬ 
moved;  the  inhabitants  of  Gebim  rather 
themselves  to  flee.  32.  As  yet  shall  he  re¬ 
main  at  Nob  that  day:  he  shall  shake  his 
hand  against  the  mount  of  the  daughter  of 
Zion,  the  hill  of  Jerusalem.  33.  Behold,  the 
Lord,  the  Lord  of  hosts,  shall  lop  the 
bough  with  terror:  and  the  high  ones  of 
stature  shall  be  hewn  down,  and  the  haughty 
shall  be  humbled.  34.  And  he  shall  cut 
down  the  thickets  of  the  forests  with  iron, 
and  Lebanon  shall  fall  by  a  mighty  one. 

The  prophet,  in  his  preaching,  distinguishes  be¬ 
tween  the  precious  and  the  vile;  for  God,  in  his  pro¬ 
vidence,  even  in  the  same  providence,  does  so;  he 
speaks  terror,  in  Sennacherib's  invasion,  to  the  hy¬ 
pocrites,  who  were  the  people  of  Gotl's  ’wrath,  v. 
6.  But  here  he  speaks  comfort  to  the  sincere,  who 
were  the  people  of  God’s  love.  The  judgment  was 
sent  for  the  sake  of  the  former,  the  deliverance  was 
wrought  for  the  sake  of  the  latter.  Here  we  have. 

I.  An  exhortation  to  God’s  people,  not  to  he 
frightened  at  this  threatening  calamitv,  n<  r  to  be 
put  into  any  confusion  or  consternation  by  it;  (v. 
24.)  Let  the  sinners  in  Zion  be  afraid,  ch.  xxxiii 
14.  0  my  people  that  dwellest  in  Zion,  be  no’  afraa. 
of  the  Assyrian.  Note,  It  is  against  the  mind  and 
will  of  God,  that  his  people,  whatever  happens 


oe 


ISAIAH, 


sh  ,uld  give  wav  to  that  fear  which  lias  t  rment  and  | 
amazement.  They  that  dwell  in  Zion,  where  God 
dwells,  and  where  his  people  attend  him,  and  are 
employed  in  his  service,  that  are  under  the  protec¬ 
tion  of  the  bulwarks  that  are  round  about  Zion, 
(Ps.  xlviii.  13.)  need  not  be  afraid  of  any  enemy. 
Let  their  souls  dwell  at  ease  in  God. 

II.  Considerations  offered  for  the  silencing  of  their 
fear. 

1.  The  Assyrian  shall  do  nothing  against  them 
but  what  God  has  appointed  and  determined;  they 
are  here  told  beforehand  what  he  should  do,  that  it 
may  be  no  surprise  to  them,  “He  shall  smite,  thee 
by  the  divine  pel-mission,  but  it  shall  be  only  with  a 
rod  to  correct  thee,  not  with  a  sword  to  wound  and 
kill;  nay,  he  shall  but  lift  up  his  staff  against  thee, 
threaten  thee,  and  frighten  thee,  and  shake  the  rod 
at  thee,  after  the  manner  of  Egypt,  as  the  Egyp¬ 
tians  shook  their  staff  against  your  fathers  at  the 
Red  sea,  when  they  said,  IVe  will  pursue, -we  will 
overtake,  (Exod.  xv.  9.)  but  could  not  reach  to  do 
them  any  hurt.”  Note,  We  should  not  be  fright¬ 
ened  at  those  enemies  that  can  do  no  more  than 
frighten  us. 

2.  The  storm  will  soon  blow  over;  (x>.  25.)  Yet  a 
very  little  while,  a  little,  little  while,  (so  the  word 
is ,)'and  the  indignation  shall  cease,  even  mine  an¬ 
ger,  which  is  the  staff  in  their  hand,  (y.  5.)  so  that 
when  that  ceases,  they  are  disarmed,  and  disabled 
to  do  any  further  mischief.  Note,  God’s  anger 
against  his  people  is  but  for  a  moment;  (Ps.  xxx. 
5l)  and  when  that  ceases,  and  is  turned  away  from 
us,  we  need  not  fear  the  fury  of  any  man,  for  it  is 
impotent  passion. 

3.  The  enemy  that  threatens  them,  shall  himself 
be  reckoned  with ;  God’s  anger  against  his  people 
shall  cease  in  the  destruction  of  their  enemies;  when 
he  turns  away  his  wrath  from  Israel,  he  shall  turn 
it  against  the  Assyrian;  and  the  rod  with  which  he 
corrected  his  people,  shall  not  only  be  laid  aside, 
but  thrown  into  the  fire.  He  lift  lift  'his  staff  against 
Zion,  but  God  shall  stir  ufi  a  scourge  for  him; 
(d.  26.)  he  is  a  terror  of  God’s  people,  but  God  will 
be  a  Terror  to  him;  the  destroying  angel  shall  be 
this  scourge;  which  he  can  neither  flee  from,  nor 
contend  with.  The  prophet,  for  the  encouragement 
of  God’s  people,  quotes  precedents,  and  puts  them 
in  mind  of  what  God  had  done  formerly  against  the 
enemies  of  his  church,  that  were  very  strong  and 
formidable,  but  were  brought  to  ruin.  The  des¬ 
truction  of  the  Assyrian  shall  be,  (1.)  According  to 
the  slaughter  of  Midian,  which  was  effected  by  an 
invisible  power,  but  done  suddenly,  and  it  was  a 
total  rout.  And  as  at  the  rock  of  Oreb,  one  of  the 
princes  of  Midian,  after  the  battle,  was  slain,  so 
shall  Sennacherib  be  in  the  temple  of  his  god  Nis- 
roch,  after  the  defeat  of  his  forces,  when  he  thinks 
the  bitterness  of  death  is  past.  Compare  with  this, 
Ps.  lxxxiii.  11.  Make  their  nobles  like  Oreb,  and 
like  Zeeb;  and  see  how  God’s  promises  and  his  peo¬ 
ple’s  prayers  agree.  (2.)  As  his  rod  was  upon  the 
sea,  the  Red  sea,  as  Moses’s  rod  was  upon  that,  to 
divide  it,  first  for  the  escape  of  Israel,  and  then  to 
close  it  again  for  the  destruction  of  their  pursuers, 
so  shall  his  rod  now  be  lifted  up,  after  the  manner 
of  Egypt,  for  the  deliverance  of  Jerusalem  and  the 
destruction  of  the  Assyrian.  Note,  It  is  good  to 
observe  a  resemblance  between  God’s  latter  and 
former  appearances  for  his  people,  and  against  his 
and  their  enemies. 

4.  Thev  shall  be  wholly  delivered  from  the  power 
of  the  Assyrian,  and  from  the  fear  of  it;  (v.  27.) 
they  shall  not  only  be  eased  of  the  Assyrian  army, 
which  now  quartered  upon  them,  and  which  was  a 
grievous  yoke  and  burthen  to  them,  but  they  shall 
no  more  pay  that  tribute  to  the  king  of  Assyria, 
which,  before  this  invasion,  he  had  exacted  from 


them,  (2  Kings  xviii.  14.)  shall  be  no  longer  at  J. is 
service,  nor  lie  at  his  mercy,  as  they  have  done; 
nor  shall  he  ever  again  put  the  country  under  con¬ 
tribution.  Some  think  it  looks  further,  to  the  de¬ 
liverance  of  the  Jews  out  of  their  captivity  in  Baby¬ 
lon;  and  further  yet,  to  the  redemption  of  believers 
from  the  tyranny  of  sin  and  Satan.  The  yoke  shall 
not  only  be  taken  away,  but  it  shall  be  destroyed; 
the  enemy  shall  no  more  recover  his  strength,  to  do 
the  mischief  he  has  done.  And  this,  because  of  the 
anointing ,  for  their  sakes,  who  were  partakers  of 
the  anointing.  (1.)  For  Hezelciah’s  sake,  who  was 
the  anointed  of  the  Lord,  who  had  been  an  active 
reformer,  and  was  dear  to  God.  (2.)  For  David’s 
sake;  that  is  particularly  given  them  as  the  reason 
why  God  would  defend  Jerusalem  from  Sennache¬ 
rib,  ( ch .  xxxvii.  35.)  For  my  own  sake,  and  for  my 
servant  David’s  sake.  (3.)  For  his  people  Israel’s 
sake,  the  good  people  among  them  that  had  received 
the  unction  of  divine  grace.  (4.)  For  the  sake  of 
the  Messiah,  the  Anointed  of  God,  whom  God  had 
an  eye  to  in  all  the  deliverances  of  the  Old  Testa¬ 
ment  church,  and  hath  still  an  eye  to  in  all  the  fa¬ 
vours  he  shows  to  his  people;  it  is  for  his  sake  that 
the  yoke  is  broken,  and  that  we  are  made  free 
indeed. 

III.  A  description  both  of  the  terror  of  the  enemy, 
and  the  terror  with  which  many  were  struck  by  it, 
and  the  folly  of  both  exposed,  v.  28,  to  the  end. 
Where  observe, 

1.  How  formidable  the  Assyrians  were,  and  how 
daring  and  threatening  they  affected  to  appear 
Here  is  a  particular  description  of  his  march,  what 
course  he  steered,  what  swift  advances  he  made; 
He  is  come  to  Aiath,  8cc.  This  and  the  other  place 
he  has  made  himself  master  of,  and  has  met  with 
no  opposition;  At  Michmash  he  has  laid  up  his 
carriages,  as  if  he  had  no  further  occasion  for  his 
heavy  artillery,  so  easily  was  every  place  he  came 
to  reduced;  or,  the  store-cities  of  Judah,  which  were 
fortified  for  that  purpose,  were  now  become  his 
magazines.  Some  remarkable  pass,  and  an  impor¬ 
tant  one,  he  had  taken,  they  are  gone  over  the 
passage. 

2.  How  cowardly  the  men  of  Judah  were,  the  de¬ 
generate  seed  of  that  lion’s  whelp;  they  are  afraid, 
they  are  fled  upon  the  first  alarm,  and  did  not  offer 
to  make  any  head  against  the  enemy;  their  apostacy 
from  God  had  dispirited  them,  so  that  one  chases  a 
thousand  of  them.  Instead  of  a  valiant  shout,  to 
animate  one  another,  nothing  was  heard  but  lamen¬ 
tation,  to  discourage  and  weaken  one  another.  And 
poor  Anathoth,  a  priest’s  city,  that  should  have 
been  a  pattern  of  courage,  shrieks  louder  than  any; 
(r>.  30.)  with  respect  to  those  that  gathered  them¬ 
selves  together,  it  was  not  to  fight,  but  to  flee  by 
consent,  v.  31.  This  is  designed  either,  (1.)  Tc 
show  how  fast  the  news  of  the  enemies  progress 
flew  through  the  kingdom;  He  is  come  to  Aiath,  says 
one;  nay,  says  another,  He  is  passed  to  Migron,  &c. 
And  yet,  perhaps,  it  was  not  altogether  so  bad  as 
common  fame  represented  it.  But  we  must  watch 
against  the  fear,  not  only  of  evil  thitigs,  but  of  evil 
tidings,  which  often  make  things  worse  than  really 
they  are,  Ps.  cxii.  7.  Or,  (2.)  To  show  what  im¬ 
minent  danger  Jerusalem  was  in,  when  its  enemies 
made  so  many  bold  advances  towards  it,  and  its 
friends  could  not  make  one  bold  stand  to  defend  it 
Note,  The  more  daring  the  church’s  enemies  are, 
and  the  more  dastardly  those  are  that  should  appear 
for  her,  the  more  will  God  be  exalted  in  his  own 
strength,  when,  notwithstanding  this,  he  works  de 
liverance  for  her. 

3.  How  impotent  his  attempt  upon  Jerusalem 
shall  be;  He  shall  remain  at  Arob,  whence  he  may 
see  mount  Zion,  and  there  he  shall  shake  his  hand 
against  it;  (u.  32. )  he  shall  threaten  it.  and  that  shall 


67 


ISAIAH,  XI. 


be  all;  it  shall  be  safe,  anti  shall  set  him  at  defiance; 
the  daughter  of  Jerusalem,  to  be  even  with  him, 
shall  shake  her  head  at  him,  ch.  xxxvii.  22. 

4.  How  fatal  it  would  prove,  in  the  issue,  to  him¬ 
self;  when  he  snakes  his  hand  at  Jerusalem,  and  is 
about  to  lay  hands  on  it,  then  is  God’s  time  to  ap¬ 
pear  against  him;  for  Zion  is  the  place  of  which 
God  has  said,  This  is  my  rest  for  ever;  therefore' 
those  who  threaten  it,  affront  God  himself.  Then 
the  Lord  shall  loft  the  bough  with  terror,  and  cut 
down  the  thickets  of  the  forests,  t>.  33,  34.  ( 1. )  The 

ride  of  the  enemy  shall  be  humbled,  and  the 
oughs  that  are  lifted  up  on  high  shall  be  lopped 
off,  the  high  and  stately  trees  shall  be  hewn  down, 
the  haughty  shall  be  humbled;  those  that  lift  up 
themselves  in  competition  with  God,  or  opposition 
to  him,  shall  be  abased.  (2.)  The  power  of  the 
enemy  shall  be  broken;  the  thickets  of  the  forest  he 
shall  cut  down.  When  the  Assyrian  soldiers  were 
under  their  arms,  and  their  spears  erect,  they  looked 
like  a  forest,  like  Lebanon:  but  when  in  one  night 
they  all  became  as  dead  corpses,  the  pikes  were 
laid  on  the  ground,  and  Lebanon  was  of  a  sudden 
cut  down  by  a  mighty  one,  the  destroying  angel, 
who  in  a  little  time  slew  so  many  thousands  of  them: 
and  if  this  shall  be  the  exit  of  that  proud  invader, 
let  not  God’s  people  be  afraid  of  him.  JVho  art 
thou,  that  thou  shouldest  be  afraid  of  a  man  that  shall 
die? 

CHAP.  XI. 

It  is  a  very  good  transition  in  prophecy,  (whether  it  be  so 
in  rhetoric  or  no,)  and  a  very  common  one,  to  pass  from 
the  prediction  of  the  temporal  deliverances  of  the  church 
to  that  of  the  great  salvation,  which  in  the  fulness  of 
time  shall  be  wrought  out  by  Jesus  Christ,  of  which  the 
other  were  types  and  figures  to  which  all  the  prophets 
bare  witness;  and  so  the  ancient  Jews  understand  them. 
For  what  else  was  it  that  raised  so  great  an  expectation  | 
of  the  Messiah  at  the  time  he  came.  Upon  occasion  of 
the  prophecy  of  the  deliverance  of  Jerusalem  from  Sen¬ 
nacherib,  here  comes  in  a  prophecy  concerning  Messiah 
the  Prince:  I.  His  rise  out  of  the  house  of  David,  v.  1. 

II.  His  qualifications  for  his  great  undertaking,  v.  2,  3. 

III.  The  justice  and  equity  of  his  government,  v.  3..  5. 

IV.  The  peaceableness  of  his  kingdom,  v.  6..  9.  V. 
The  accession  of  the  Gentiles  to  it,  (v.  10.)  and  with  them 
the  remnant  of  the  Jews,  that  should  be  united  with  them 
in  the  Messiah’s  kingdom,  v.  11  .  .  16.  And  of  all  this, 
God  would  now  shortly  give  them  a  type,  and  some 
dark  representation,  in  the  excellent  government  of  He- 
zekiah,  the  great  peace  which  the  nation  should  enjoy  un¬ 
der  him,  after  the  ruin  of  Sennacherib’s  design,  and  the 
return  of  many  of  the  ten  tribes  out  of  their  dispersion 
to  their  brethren  of  the  land  of  Judah,  when  they  enjoyed 
that  great  tranquillity. 

1.  A  ND  there  shall  come  forth  a  rod  out 
-fV  of  the  stern  of  Jesse,  and  a  Branch 
shall  grow  out  of  his  roots:  2.  And  the  Spi¬ 
rit  of  the  Lord  shall  rest  upon  him,  the  spi¬ 
rit  of  wisdom  and  understanding,  the  spirit 
of  counsel  and  might,  the  'spirit  of  know¬ 
ledge,  and  of  the  fear  of  the  Lord  ;  3.  And 
shall  make  him  of  quick  understanding  in 
the  fear  of  the  Lord:  and  he  shall  not  judge 
after  the  sight  of  his  eyes,  neither  reprove 
alter  the  hearing  of  his  ears.  4.  But  with 
righteousness  shall  he  judge  the  poor,  and 
reprove  with  equity  for  the  meek  of  the  earth : 
and  he  shall  smite  the  earth  with  the  rod  of 
his  mouth,  and  with  the  breath  of  his  lips 
shall  he  slay  the  wicked.  5.  And  righteous¬ 
ness  shall  be  the  girdle  of  his  loins,  and  faith- 
Inlness  the  girdle  of  his  reins.  6.  The  wolf 


also  shall  dwell  with  the  lamb,  and  tlie  leo¬ 
pard  shall  lie  down  with  the  kid;  and  the 
tali,  and  the  young  lion,  and  the  fading  to¬ 
gether;  and  a  little  child  shall  lead  them. 
7.  And  the  cow  and  the  bear  shall  feed; 
their  young  ones  shall  lie  down  together: 
and  the  lion  shall  eat  straw  like  the  ox.  8. 
And  the  sucking  child  shall  play  on  the  hole 
ol  the  asp,  and  the  weaned  child  shall  put 
his  hand  on  the  cockatrice’  den.  9.  They 
shall  not  hurt  nor  destroy  in  all  my  holy 
mountain:  for  the  earth  shall  be  full  of  the 
knowledge  of  the  Lord,  as  the  waters  cover 
the  sea. 

The  prophet  had  before,  in  this  sermon,  spoken 
of  a  Child  that  should  be  born,  a  Son  that  should  be 
given,  on  whose  shoulders  the  government  should 
be;  intending  this  for  the  comfort  of  the  people  of 
God  in  times  of  trouble,  as  dying  Jacob,  many  ages 
before,  had  intended  the  prospect  of  Shiloh  for  the 
comfort  of  his  seed  in  their  affliction  in  Egypt.  He 
had  said,  {ch.  x.  27.)  that  the  yoke  should  be  de¬ 
stroyed  because  of  the  anointing;  now  here  he  tells 
us  on  whom  that  anointing  should  rest.  He  foretells, 

I.  That  the  Messiah  should,  in  due  time,  arise 
out  of  the  house  of  David,  as  that  Branch  of  the 
Lord,  which  he  had  said  {ch.  iv.  2.)  should  be  ex 
cellent  and  glorious;  the  word  is  JVetzer,  whic 
some  think  is  referred  to,  Matth.  ii.  23.  where  it  is 
said  to  be  spoken  by  the  prophets  of  the  Messiah, 
that  he  should  be  called  a  Nazarene.  Observe  here, 

1.  Whence  this  Branch  should  arise:  from  Jesse. 
He  should  be  the  Son  of  David,  with  whom  the 
covenant  of  royalty  was  made,  and  to  whom  it  was 
promised  with  an  bath,  that  of  the  fruit  of  his  loins 
God  would  raise  ufx  Christ,  Acts  ii.  30.  David  is 
often  called  the  son  of  Jesse,  and  Christ  is  called  so, 
because  he  was  to  be  not  only  the  Son  of  David, 
but  David  himself,  Hos.  iii.  5. 

2.  The  meanness  of  his  appearance.  (1.)  He  is 

called  a  Nod,  and  a  Branch;  both  the  words  here 
used  signify  a  weak,  small,  tender  product,  a  twig, 
and  a  s/irig;  so  some  render  them;  such  as  is  easily 
broken  off.  The  enemies  of  God’s  church  were 
just  before  compared  to  strong  and  stately  boughs, 
{ch.  x.  33.)  which  will  not,  without  great  labour, 
be  hewn  down;  but  Christ,  to  a  tender  branch;  {ch. 
liii.  2. )  yet  he  shall  be  victorious  over  them.  (2.) 
He  is  said  to  come  out  of  Jesse,  rather  than  David, 
because  Jesse  lived  and  died  in  meanness  and  obscu¬ 
rity;  his  family  was  of  small  account,  (1  Sam.  xviii. 
18.)  and  it  was  in  a  way  of  contempt  and  reproach 
that  David  was  sometimes  called  the  son  of  Jesse, 
ch.  xxii.  7.  (3.)  He  comes  forth  out  of  the  stem,  or 

stump,  of  Jesse;  when  the  royal  family  that  had 
beer-  -s  a  cedar,  was  cut  down,  and  only  the  stump 
of  it  left,  almost  levelled  with  the  ground,  and  lost 
in  the  grass  of  the  field,  (Dan.  iv.  15.)  yet  it  shall 
sprout  again,  Job  xiv.  7.  Nay,  it  shall  grow  out  of 
his  roots,  which  are  quite  buried  in  the  earth,  and, 
like  the  roots  of  flowers  in  the  winter,  have  no  stem 
appearing  above  ground.  The  house  of  Dai  id  was 
reduced  and  brought  very  low  at  the  time  of  Christ’s 
birth,  witness  the  obscurity  and  poverty  of  Joseph 
and  Mary.  The  Messiah  was  thus  to  begin  his 
estate  of  humiliation,  for  submitting  to  which  he 
should  be  highly  exalted, 'and  would  thus  give  earlv 
notice  that  his  kingdom  was  not  of  this  world.  The 
Ch  aldee  Paraphrase  reads  this,  There  shall  com 
forth  a  king  from  the  sons  of  Jesse,  and  the  Mes¬ 
siah  (or  Christ)  shall  be  anointed  out  of  his  sons’  sons 

II.  That  he  should  be  every  way  qualified  fo. 
that  great  work  to  which  he  was  designed;  that  th's 


63  ISAIAH,  XI. 


tender  Branch  should  be  so  watered  with  the  dews 
of  heaven,  as  to  become  a  strong  Rod  for  a  sceptre 
to  rule,  v.  2. 

1.  In  general;  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  shall  rest 
upon  him.  The  Holy  Spirit,  in  all  his  gifts  and 
graces,  shall  not  only  come,  but  rest  and  abide,  upon 
him;  he  shall  have  the  Spirit  not  by  measure,  but 
without  measure,  the  fulness  of  the  Godhead  dwell¬ 
ing  in  him.  Col.  i.  19.—  ii.  9.  He  began  his  preach¬ 
ing  with  this,  (Luke  iv.  18.)  The  Spirit  of  the  Lord 
is  upon  me. 

2.  In  particular;  the  spirit  of  government,  by 

which  he  should  be  every  way  fitted  for  that  judg¬ 
ment  which  the  Father  has  committed  to  him,  and 
given  him  authority  to  execute,  John  v.  22,  27. 
And  not  only  so,  but  he  should  be  made  the  Foun¬ 
tain  and  Treasury  of  all  grace  to  believers,  that 
from  his  fulness  they  might  all  receive  the  Spirit  of 
grace,  as  all  the  members  of  the  body  derive  animal 
spirits  from  the  head.  (1. )  He  shall  have  the  spirit 
of  wisdom  and  understanding,  of  counsel  and  know¬ 
ledge;  he  shall  thoroughly  understand  the  business 
he  is  to  be  employed  in.  JVo  man  knows  the  Fa¬ 
ther  but  the  Son,  Matth.  xi.  27.  What  he  is  to 
make  known  to  the  children  of  men  concerning 
God,  and  his  mind  and  will,  he  shall  be  himself  ac¬ 
quainted  with  and  apprised  of,  John  i.  18.  He  shall 
know  how  to  administer  his  spiritual  kingdom  in  all 
the  branches  of  it,  so  as  effectually  to  answer  the 
two  great  intentions  of  it,  the  glory  of  God,  and  the 
welfare  of  the  children  of  men.  The  terms  of  the 
covenant  shall  be  settled  by  him,  and  ordinances  in¬ 
stituted,  in  wisdom:  treasures  of  wisdom  shall  be 
in  him;  he  shall  be  our  Counsellor,  and  shall  be 
made  of  God  to  us  Wisdom.  (2.)  The  spirit  of 
courage,  or  might,  or  fortitude;  the  undertaking 
was  very  great,  abundance  of  difficulty  must  be 
broken  through,  and  therefore  it  was  necessary  that 
he  should  be  so  endowed  that  he  might  not  fail,  or 
be  discouraged,  ch.  xlii.  1.  He  was  famed  tor  cou¬ 
rage  in  his  teaching  the  way  of  God  in  truth,  and 
not  caring  for  any  man,  Matth.  xxii.  16.  (3.)  The 

Spirit  of  religion,  or  the  fear  of  the  Lord;  not  only 
he  shall  himself  have  a  reverent  affection  for  his  Fa¬ 
ther,  as  his  servant,  {ch.  xlii.  1.)  and  he  was  heard 
in  that  he  feared,  (Heb.  v.  7.)  but  he  shall  have  a 
zeal  for  religion,  and  shall  design  the  advancement 
of  it  in  his  whole  undertaking.  Our  faith  in  Christ 
was  never  designed  to  supersede  and  justle  out,  but 
to  increase  and  support,  our  fear  of  the  Lord. 

III.  That  he  should  be  accurate  and  critical,  and 
very  exact  in  the  administration  of  his  government, 
and  the  exercise  of  the  power  committed  to  him; 
(v.  3.)  The  Spirit  wherewith  he  shall  be  clothed, 
shall  make  him  of  quick  understanding,  in  the  fear 
if  the  Lord ;  of  an  acute  smell  or  scent,  so  the  word 
is,  for  the  apprehensions  of  the  mind  are  often  ex¬ 
pressed  by  the  sensations  of  the  body.  Note,  1. 
Those  are  most  truly  and  valuably  intelligent,  that 
are  so  in  the  fear  of  the  Lord,  in  the  business  of  re¬ 
ligion,  for  that  is  both  the  foundation  and  top-stone 
of  wisdom.  2.  By  this  it  will  appear  that  we  have 
the  Spirit  of  God,  if  we  have  spiritual  senses  exer¬ 
cised,  and  are  of  quick  understanding,  in  the  fear 
of  the  Lord;  those  have  divine  illumination,  that 
know  their  duty,  and  know  how  to  go  about  it.  (3.) 
Therefore,  Jesus  Christ  had  the  Spirit  without  mea¬ 
sure,  that  he  might  perfectly  understand  his  under¬ 
taking;  and  he  did  so,  as  appears  not  only  in  the  ad¬ 
mirable  answers  he  gave  to  all  that  questioned  with 
him,  which  proved  him  to  be  of  quick  understand¬ 
ing,  in  the  fear  of  the  Lord;  but  in  the  management 
of  his  whofe  undertaking.  He  has  settled  the  great 
affair  of  religion  so  unexceptionably  well,  (so  as  ef¬ 
fectually  to  secure  both  God’s  honour  and  man’s 
happiness,)  that  it  must  be  owned,  he  tho:-c  uglily 
uiderstood  it 


IV.  That  he  should  be  just  and  righteous  in  all 
the  acts  of  his  government,  and  there  should  appear 
in  it  as  much  equity  as  wisdom.  He  shall  judge,  as 
he  expresses  it  himself,  and  as  he  himself  would  be 
judged  of,  John  vii.  24. 

1.  Not  according  to  outward  appearance;  (v.  3.) 
He  shall  not  judge  after  the  sight  of  his  eyes,  with 
respect  of  persons,  (Job  xxxiv.  19.)  and  according 
to  outward  shows  and  appearances,  nor  reprove  af¬ 
ter  the  hearing  of  his  ears,  by  common  fame  and  re¬ 
port,  and  the  representations  of  others,  as  men  oft 
do;  nor  does  he  judge  of  men  by  the  fair  words 
they  speak,  calling  him  Lord,  Lord,  or  their  plau¬ 
sible  actions  before  the  eye  of  the  world,  which  they 
do  to  be  seen  of  men;  but  he  will  judge  by  the  hid¬ 
den  man  of  the  heart,  and  the  inward  principles 
men  are  governed  by,  of  which  he  is  an  infallible 
Witness.  Christ  will  judge  the  secrets  of  men; 
(Rom.  ii.  16. )  will  determine  concerning  them,  not 
according  to  their  own  pretensk  ns  and  appearan¬ 
ces,  that  were  to  judge  after  the  sight  of  the  eyes; 
not  according  to  the  opinion  others  have  of  them, 
that  were  to  judge  after  the  hearing  of  the  ears;  but 
we  are  sure  that  his  judgment  is  according  to  truth. 

2.  He  will  judge  righteous  judgment;  (y.  5.)  Righ¬ 
teousness  shall  be  the  girdle  of  his  loins;  he  shall 
be  righteous  in  the  administration  of  his  govern¬ 
ment,  and  his  righteousness  shall  be  his  girdle,  it 
shall  constantly  compass  him  and  cleave  to  him,  it 
shall  be  his  ornament  and  honour;  he  shall  gird  him¬ 
self  for  every  action,  shall  gird  on  his  sword  for  war 
in  righteousness;  his  righteousness  shall  be  his 
strength,  and  shall  make  him  expeditious  in  his 
undertakings,  as  a  man  with  his  loins  girt.  In  con¬ 
formity  to  Christ,  his  followers  must  have  the  gir¬ 
dle  of  truth,  (Eph.  vi.  14.)  and  it  will  be  the  stability 
of  the  times.  Particularly, 

(1.)  He  shall  in  righteousness  plead  for  the  peo¬ 
ple  that  are  poor  and  oppressed;  he  will  be  their 
Protector;  (x>.  4.)  with  righteousness  shall  he  judge 
the  poor,  shall  judge  in  favour  and  defence  of  these 
that  have  right  on  their  side,  though  they  are  poor  in 
the  world,  and  because  they  are  poor  in  spirit.  It 
is  the  duty  of  princes  to  defend  and  deliver  the 
poor,  (Ps.  'lxxxii.  3,  4.)  and  the  honour  of  Christ, 
that  he  is  the  poor  man’s  King,  Ps.  lxxii.  2,  4.  He 
shall  debate  with  evenness  for  the  meek  of  the  earth, 
or  of  the  land;  those  that  bear  the  injuries  done  them, 
with  meekness  and  patience,  are  in  a  special  man¬ 
ner  entitled  to  the  divine  care  and  protection.  I, 
as  a  deaf  man,  heard  not,  for  thou  wilt  hear,  Ps. 
xxxviii.  13,  14.  Some  read  it,  He  shall  reprove 
or  correct  the  meek  of  the  earth  with  equity.  If 
his  own  people,  the  meek  of  the  land,  do  amiss,  he 
will  visit  their  transgression  with  the  rod. 

(2. )  He  shall  in  righteousness  plead  against  his 
enemies  that  are  proud  and  oppressors;  (y.  4.)  Rut 
he  shall  smite  the  earth,  the  man  of  the  earth,  that 
oppresses;  (see  Ps.  x.  18.)  the  men  of  the  world, 
that  mind  earthly  things  only;  (Ps.  xvii.  14.)  these 
he  shall  smite  with  the  rod  of  his  mouth,  the  word 
of  his  mouth,  speaking  terror  and  ruin  to  them ;  his 
threatenings  shall  take  hold  of  them,  and  be  exe¬ 
cuted  upon  them;  with  the  breath  of  his  lips,  by  the 
operation  of  his  Spirit,  according  to  his  word,  and 
working  with  and  by  it,  he  shall  slay  the  wicked. 
He  wiil  do  it  easily,  with  a  word’s  speaking,  as  he 
laid  those  flat  who  came  to  seize  him,  by  saying,  I 
am  he,  John  xviii.  6.  Killing  terrors  shall  arrest 
theii  consciences,  killing  judgments  shall  ruin  them, 
their  power,  and  all  their  interests;  and  in  the  other 
world  everlasting  tribulation  will  be  recompensed  to 
those  that  trouble  his  poor  people.  The  apostle  ap¬ 
plies  this  to  the  destruction  of  the  man  of  sin,  whom 
he  calls  that  wicked  one,  (2  Thes.  ii.  8.)  whom  the 
Lord  will  consume  with  the  spirit  of  h.s  month. 
And  the  Chaldee  litre  reads  it,  lie  shall  slay  that 


IS  MAH.  XI. 


69 


wicked  Romulus,*  or  Rome,  as  Mr.  Hugh  Brough¬ 
ton  understands  it. 

V.  That  there  should  be  great  peace  and  tran¬ 
quillity  under  his  government;  this  is  an  explica¬ 
tion  of  what  was  said,  c/i.  ix.  6.  that  he  should 
be  the  Prince  of  Peace.  Peace  signifies  two  things: 

1.  Unity  and  concord;  these  are  intimated  in 
these  figurative  promises,  that  even  the  wolf  shall 
dwell  peaceably  with  the  lamb;  men  of  the  most 
fierce  and  furious  dispositions,  who  used  to  bite  and 
devour  all  about  them,  shall  have  their  temper  so 
strangely  altered  by  the  efficacy  of  the  gospel  and 
grace  of  Christ,  that  they  shall  live  in  love  even 
with  the  weakest,  and  such  as  formerly  they  would 
have  made  an  easy  prey  of.  So  far  shall  the  sheep 
be  from  hurting  one  another,  as  sometimes  they 
have  done,  (Ezek.  xxxiv.  20,  21.)  that  even  the 
wolves  shall  agree  with  them.  Christ,  who  is  our 
Peace,  came  to  slay  all  enmities,  and  to  settle 
lasting  friendships  among  his  followers,  particu¬ 
larly  between  Jews  and  Gentiles:  when  multitudes 
of  both,  being  converted  to  the  faith  of  Christ, 
united  in  one  sheep-fold;  then  the  wolf  and  the  lamb 
dwelt  together;  the  wolf  did  not  so  much  as  threat¬ 
en  the  lamb,  nor  was  the  lamb  afraid  of  the  wolf. 
The  leopard  shall  not  only  not  tear  the  kid,  but  shall 
lie  down  with  her:  even  their  young  ones  shall  lie 
down  together,  and  shall  be  trained  up  in  a  blessed 
amity,  in  order  to  the  perpetuating  of  it.  The  lion 
shall  cease  to  be  ravenous,  and  shall  eat  straw  like 
the  ox,  as  some  think  all  the  beasts  of  prey  did  be¬ 
fore  the  Fall.  The  asp  and  the  cockatrice  shall 
cease  to  be  venomous,  so  that  parents  will  let  their 
children  play  with  them,  and  put  their  hands  among 
them.  A  generation  of  vipers  shall  become  a  seed 
of  saints,  and  the  old  complaint  of  Homo  homini 
l u fius — Man  is  a  wolf  to  man,  shall  be  at  an  end. 
They  that  inhabit  the  holy  mountain,  shall  live  as 
amicably  as  the  creatures  did  that  were  with  Noah 
in  the  ark,  and  it  shall  be  a  means  of  their  preser¬ 
vation,  for  they  shall  not  hurt  or  destroy  one  ano¬ 
ther  as  they  have  done.  Now,  (1.)  This  is  fulfilled 
in  the  wonderful  effect  of  the  gospel  upon  the  minds 
of  those  that  sincerely  embrace  it;  it  changes  the 
nature  and  makes  those  that  trampled  on  the  meek 
of  tlie  earth,  not  only  meek  like  them,  but  kind  to 
them.  When  Paul,  who  had  persecuted  the  saints, 
joined  himself  to  them,  then  the  wolf  dwelt  with  the 
lamb.  (2. )  Some  are  willing  to  hope  it  shall  yet  have 
a  further  accomplishment  in  the  latter  days,  when 
swords  shall  be  beaten  into  filoughshares. 

2.  Safety  and  security;  Christ,  the  great  Shep¬ 
herd,  shall  take  such  care  of  his  flock,  that  those 
who  would  hurt  them,  shall  not;  they  shall  not  only 
not  destroy  one  another,  but  no  enemy  from  with¬ 
out  shall  be  permitted  to  give  them  any  molesta¬ 
tion;  the  property  of  troubles,  and  of  death  itself, 
shall  be  so  altered,  that  they  shall  not  do  any  real 
hurt  to,  much  less  shall  they  be  the  destruction 
of,  any  that  have  their  conversation  in  the  holy 
mountain,  1  Pet.  iii.  13.  Who,  or  what,  can  harm 
us,  if  we  be  followers  of  him  that  is  good  ? 
G  id's  people  shall  be  delivered  not  only  from  evil, 
but  from  thi  fear  of  it;  even  the  sucking  child  shall 
without  any  terror  filay  ufion  the  hole  of  the  asfi; 
blessed  Paid  does  so  when  he  says,  Who  shall  sefia- 
rate  us  from  the  love  of  Christ  ?  and  O  death! 
where  is  thy  sting? 

Lastly,  Observe  what  shall  be  the  effect,  and 
what  the  cause,  of  this  wonderful  softening  and 
sweetening  of  men’s  tempers  by  the  grace  of  God. 

1.  The  effect  of  it  shall  be,  tractableness,  and  a 
willingness  to  receive  instruction;  A  little  child  shall 
lead  them  who  formerly  scorned  to  be  controlled 
by  the  strongest  man.  Calvin  understands  it  of 
thei;  willing  submision  to  the  ministers  of  Christ, 


|  who  are  to  instruct  with  meekness,  and  not  to  use 
I  any  coercive  power,  but  to  be  as  little  children, 
Matt,  xviii.  3.  See  2  Crr.  v  iii.  5. 

2.  The  cause  of  it  shall  be,  the  knowledge  of  God. 
The  more  there  is  of  that,  the  more  there  is  of  a 
disposition  to  peace.  They  shall  thus  live  in  lore, 
for  the  earth  shall  be  full  of  the  knowledge  of  the 
Lord,  which  shall  extinguish  men’s  heats  and  ani¬ 
mosities.  The  better  acquainted  we  are  with  the 
God  of  love,  the  more  we  shall  lie  changed  into  the 
same  image,  and  the  better  affected  shall  we  be  to 
all  those  that  bear  his  image.  The  earth  shall  be 
as  full  of  this  knowledge  as  the  channels  of  the  sea 
are  of  water;  so  broad  and  extensive  shall  this 
knowledge  be,  and  so  far  shall  it  spread;  so  deep 
and  substantial  shall  this  knowledge  be,  and  so  long 
shall  it  last.  There  is  much  more  of  the  know¬ 
ledge  of  God  to  be  got  by  the  gospel  of  Christ,  than 
could  be  got  by  the  law  of  Moses;  and  whereas  then 
in  Judah  only  was  God  known,  now  all  shall  know 
him,  Heb.  viii.  11.  But  that  is  knowledge  falsely 
so  called,  which  sows  discord  among  men:  the  right 
knowledge  of  God  settles  peace. 

10.  And  in  that  day  there  shall  he  a  root 
of  Jesse,  which  shall  stand  for  an  ensign  of 
the  people ;  to  it  shall  the  Gentiles  seek  : 
and  his  rest  shall  he  glorious.  11.  And  it 
shall  come  to  pass  in  that  day,  that  the  Lord 
shall  set  his  hand  again  the  second  time  to 
recoverthe  remnant  of  his  people,  which  shall 
be  left,  from  Assyria,  and  from  Egypt,  and 
from  Pathros,  and  from  Cush,  and  from 
Elam,  and  from  Shinar,  and  from  Hamath, 
and  from  the  islands  of  the  sea.  12.  And  he 
shall  set  up  an  ensign  for  the  nations,  and 
shall  assemble  the  outcasts  of  Israel,  and 
gather  together  the  dispersed  of  Judah  from 
the  four  corners  of  the  earth.  13.  The 
envy  also  of  Ephraim  shall  depart,  and  the 
adversaries  of  Judah  shall  be  cut  off; 
Ephraim  shall  not  envy  Judah,  and  Judah 
shall  not  vex  Ephraim.  14.  But  they  shall 
fly  upon  the  shoulders  of  the  Philistines 
toward  the  west ;  they  shall  spoil  them  of 
the  east  together :  they  shall  lay  their  liana 
upon  Edom  and  JVIoab ;  and  the  children 
of  Ammon  shall  obey  them.  15.  And  the 
Lord  shall  utterly  destroy  the  tongue  of  the 
Egyptian  sea;  and  with  his  mighty  wind 
shall  he  shake  his  hand  over  the  river 
and  shall  smite  it  in  the  seven  streams,  and 
make  men  go  over  dry-shod.  16.  And  there 
shall  be  a  highway  for  the  remnant  of  his 
people,  which  shall  be  left  from  Assyria, 
iike  as  it  was  to  Israel  in  the  day  that  he 
came  up  out  of  the  land  of  Egypt. 

We  have  here  a  further  prophecy  of  the  enlarge¬ 
ment  and  advancement  of  the  kingdom  of  the  Mes¬ 
siah,  under  the  tvpe  and  figure  of  the  flourishing 
condition  of  the  kingdom  of  Judah  in  the  latter  end 
of  Hezekiah’s  reign,  after  the  defeat  of  Senna 
cherib. 

1.  This  prediction  was  in  part  accomplished 
when  the  great  things  God  did  for  Hezekiah  and 
his  people,  proved  as  an  ensign,  inviting  the  neigh¬ 
bouring  nations  to  them,  to  inquire  of  the  wonders 


*  .ir  nullum. — Ed. 


70 


ISAIAH,  XI. 


done  in  the  land,  cn  which  errand  the  king  of  Baby¬ 
lon’s  ambassadors  came.  To  them  the  Gentiles 
sought;  and  Jerusalem,  the  rest  or  habitation  of  the 
Jews,  was  then  glorious,  v.  10.  Then  many  of  the 
Israelites  who  belonged  to  the  kingdom  of  the  ten 
tribes,  who,  upon  the  destruction  of  that  kingdom 
by  the  king  of  Assyria,  were  forced  to  flee  for  shel¬ 
ter  into  all  the  countries  about,  and  to  some  that  lay 
very  remote,  even  to  the  islands  of  the  sea,  were 
encouraged  to  return  to  their  own  country,  and 
put  themselves  under  the  protection  and  govern¬ 
ment  of  the  king  of  Judah;  the  rather,  because  it 
was  ar  Assyrian  army  by  which  their  country  had 
been  ruined,  and  that  was  now  routed.  This  is 
said  to  be  a  recovery  of  them  the  second  time,  (v. 
1 1. )  such  an  instance  of  the  power  and  goodness  of 
God,  and  such  a  reviving  to  them,  as  their  first  de¬ 
liverance  out  of  Egypt  was.  Then  the  outcasts  of 
Israel  should  be  gathered  in,  and  brought  home, 
and  those  of  Judah  too,  who,  upon  the  approach  of 
the  Assyi’ian  army,  shifted  for  their  own  safety. 
Then  the  old  feud  between  Ephraim  and  Judah 
shall  be  forgotten,  and  they  shall  join  against  the 
Philistines  and  their  other  CQmmon  enemies,  v.  13, 
14.  Note,  Those  who  have  been  sharers  with  each 
other  in  afflictions  and  mercies,  dangers  and  deli¬ 
verances,  in  consideration  thereof,  ought  to  unite 
for  their  joint  and  mutual  safety  and  protection; 
and  then  it  is  likely  to  be  well  with  the  church,  when 
Ephraim  and  Judah  are  one  against  the  Philistines. 
Then,  whatever  difficulties  there  may  be  in  the 
way  of  the  return  of  the  dispersed,  the  Lord  shall 
find  out  some  way  or  other  to  remove  them;  as, 
when  he  brought  Israel  out  of  Egypt,  he  dried  up 
the  Red  sea  and  Jordan,  ( v .  15.)  and  led  them  to 
Canaan  through  the  invincible  embarrassments  of  a 
vast  howling  wilderness,  v.  16.  The  like  will  he 
do  this  second  time,  or  that  which  shall  be  equiva¬ 
lent;  when  God’s  time  is  come  for  the  deliverance 
of  his  people,  mountains  of  opposition  shall  become 
plain  before  him.  Let  us  not  despair,  therefore, 
when  the  interests  of  the  church  seem  to  be  brought 
very  low;  God  can  soon  turn  gloomy  days  into  glo¬ 
rious  ones. 

II.  It  had  a  further  reference  to  the  days  of  the 
Messiah,  and  the  accession  of  the  Gentiles  to  his 
kingdom;  for  to  that  the  apostle  applies,  v.  10.  of 
which  the  following  verses  are  a  continuation. 
Rom.  xv.  12.  There  shall  be  a  root  of  Jesse;  and 
he  that  shall  rise  to  reign  over  the  Gentiles,  in  him 
shall  the  Gentiles  trust.  That  is  a  key  to  this  pro¬ 
phecy,  which  speaks  of  Christ  as  the  Root  of 
Jesse,  a  branch  out  of  his  roots,  (x>.  1.)  a  root  out 
of  a  dry  ground,  ch.  liii.  2.  He  is  the  Root  of  Da¬ 
vid,  (Rev.  v.  5.)  the  Root  and  Offspring  of  David, 
Rev.  xxii.  16. 

1.  He  shall  stand,  or  be  setup,  for  an  Ensign  of 
the  people;  when  he  was  crucified,  he  was  lifted  up 
from  the  earth;  that,  as  an  Ensign  or  Beacon, 
lie  might  draw  the  eyes  and  hearts  of  all  men 
unto  him,  John  xii.  32.  He  is  set  up  as  an  Ensign 
in  the  preaching  of  the  everlasting  gospel,  in  which 
the  ministers,  as  standard-bearers,  display  the 
banner  of  his  love,  to  allure  us  to  him,  (Cant.  i.  4.) 
the  banner  of  his  truth,  under  which  we  may  enlist 
ourselves  to  engage  in  a  holy  war  against  sin  and 
Satan.  Christ  is  the  ensign  to  whom  the  children 
of  God  that  were  scattered  abroad,  are  gathered  to¬ 
gether,  (John  xi.  52.)  and  in  whom  they  meet  as 
the  Centre  of  their  unity. 

2.  To  him  shall  the  Gentiles  seek;  we  read  of 
( rreeks  that  did  so;  John  xii.  21.  IVe  would  see  Jesus; 
and  upon  that  occasion  Christ  spake  of  his  being 
lifted  up,  to  draw  all  men  to  him.  The  apostle, 
from  the  LXX,  (or  perhaps  the  LXX  from  the 
apostle,  in  the  editions  after  Christ,)  reads  it, 
(Rom.  xv.  12.)  In  him  shall  the  Gentiles  trust; 


they  shall  seek  to  him  with  a  dependance  on  him. 

3.  His  rest  shall  be  glorious.  Some  understand 
it  of  the  death  of  Chris  ;  the  triumphs  of  the  cross 
made  even  that  glorious.  Others  of  his  ascensi.  n; 
when  he  sat  down  to  rest  at  the  right  hand  of  God. 
Or  rather,  it  is  meant  of  the  gospel  church,  that 
Mount  Zion,  of  which  Christ  has  said,  This  is  my  rest; 
and  in  which  he  resides.  This,  though  despised  by 
the  world,  having  upon  it  the  beauty  of  holiness,  is 
truly  glorious;  a  glorious  high  throne,  Jer.  xvii.  12. 

4.  Both  Jews  and  Gentiles  shall  be  gathered  to 
him,  v.  11.  A  remnant  of  both,  a  little  remnant 
in  comparison,  which  shall  be  recovered,  as  it  were, 
with  great  difficulty  and  hazard.  As  formerly  God 
delivered  his  people,  and  gathered  them  out  <  f  all 
the  countries  whither  they  were  scattered,  (Ps.  cvi. 
47.  Jer.  xvi.  15,  16.)  so  he  will  a  second  time,  in 
another  way,  by  the  powerful  working  of  the  Spirit 
of  grace  with  the  word.  He  shall  set  his  hand  to 
do  it;  lie  shall  exert  his  power,  the  arm  of  the 
Lord  shall  be  revealed  to  do  it.  1.  There  shall  be 
a  remnant  of  the  Jews  gathered  in.  The  outcasts 
of  Israel,  and  the  dispersed  of  Judah,  {v.  12.)  many 
of  whom,  at  the  time  of  the  bringing  of  them  in  to 
Christ,  were  Jews  of  the  dispersion,  the  twelve 
tribes  that  were  scattered  abroad,  (James  i.  1.  1 
Pet.  i.  1.)  these  shall  fleck  to  Christ;  and,  proba¬ 
bly,  more  of  those  scattered  Jews  were  brought  into 
the  church,  in  proportion,  than  those  which  re¬ 
mained  in  their  own  land.  (2.)  Many  of  the  na¬ 
tions,  the  Gentiles,  shall  be  brought  in  by  the  lifting 
up  of  the  ensign.  Jacob  foretold  concerning  Shiloh, 
that  to  him  shall  the  gathering  of  the  people  be. 
Those  that  were  strangers  and  foreigners,  shall  be 
made  nigh.  The  Jews  were  jealous  cf  Christ’s 
going  to  the  dispersed  among  the  Gentiles,  and  cf 
his  teaching  the  Gentiles,  John  vii.  35. 

5.  There  shall  be  a  happy  accommodation  between 
Judah  and  Ephraim,  and  both  shall  be  safe  from 
their  adversaries,  and  have  dominion  over  them,  v. 
13,  14.  The  coalescence  between  Judah  and  Israel 
at  that  time,  was  a  type  and  figure  of  the  uniting 
of  Jews  and  Gentiles  in  thf  gospel-church,  who 
had  been  so  long  at  variance.  The  house  of  Judah 
shall  walk  with  the  house  of  Israel,  (Jer.  iii.  18.) 
and  become  one  nation;  (Ezek.  xxxvii.  22.)  so  the 
Jews  and  Gentiles  are  made  of  twain  one  new  man, 
Eph.  ii.  16.  And  being  at  peace  one  with  ano¬ 
ther,  those  that  are  adversaries  to  them  both,  shall 
be  cutoff;  (or  they  shall  fly  upon  the  shoulders  of 
the  Philistines,  as  an  eagle  strikes  at  her  prey,  shall 
spoil  them  on  the  west  side  of  them:  and  then 
they  shall  extend  their  conquests  eastward,  ever 
the  Edomites,  Moabites,  and  Ammonites;  the  gos¬ 
pel  of  Christ  shall  be  successful  in  all  parts,  and 
some  of  all  nations  shall  become  obedient  to  the 
faith. 

Lastly,  Every  thing  that  might  hinder  the  pro¬ 
gress  and  success  of  the  gospel,  shall  be  taken  rut 
of  the  way.  As  when  God  brought  Israel  rut  cf 
Egypt,  he’  dried  up  the  Red  sea  and  Jordan  before 
them,  (ch.  lxiii.  11,  12.)  and  as  afterward  when  he 
brought  up  the  Jews  cut  of  Babylon,  he  prepared 
them  their  way;  {ch.  lxii.  10.)  so  when  Jews  and 
Gentiles  are  to  be  brought  together  into  the  gospel- 
church,  all  obstructions  shall  be  removed,  (v.  15, 
16.)  difficulties  that  seemed  insuperable  shall  be 
strangely  got  over;  the  blind  shall  be  led  by  a  way 
that  ihey  knew  not.  See  ch.  xlii.  15,  16. — xliii.  19, 
20.  Converts  shall  be  brought  in  chariots  and  in 
litters,  ch.  lxvi.  20.  Some  think  it  is  the  further 
accession  of  multitudes  to  the  church,  that  is  point¬ 
ed  at  in  that  obscure  prophecy  of  the  drying  up  of 
the  river  Euphrates,  that  the  way  of  the  kings  of 
the  east  may  be  prepared,  (Rev.  xvi.  12.)  which 
seems  to  refer  to  this  here.  Note,  When  God’s 
time  is  come  for  the  bringing  of  nations,  or  par- 


71 


ISAIAH.  Xli. 


licular  persons,  home  to  himself,  divine  grace  will 
bo  victorious  over  all  opposition.  At  the  presence 
ot  the  Lord,  the  sea  shall  flee,  and  Jordan  be  driven 
back:  and  those  who  set  their  faces  heaven-ward 
v  ill  find  there  are  not  such  difficulties  in  the  way  as 
they  thought  there  were,  for  there  is  a  highway 
thither,  ch.  xxxv.  8. 

CHAP.  XII. 

The  salvation  promised  in  the  foregoing  chapter  was  com¬ 
pared  to  that  of  Israel,  in  the  day  that  he  came  up  out  of 
the  land  of  Egypt;  so  that  chapter  ends.  Now  as  Moses 
and  the  children  of  Israel  sang  a  song  of  praise,  to  the 
lory  of  God,  ( Exod .  xv.  1.)  so  shall  the  people  of  God 
o  in  that  day,  when  the  Root  of  Jesse  shall  stand  for  an 
Ensign  of  the  people,  and  shall  be  the  Desire  and  Joy  of 
all  nations.  In  that  day,  1.  Every  particular  believer 
shall  sing  a  song  of  praise  for  his  own  interest  in  that 
salvation;  (v.  1.  .3.)  Thou  slialt  say ,  Lord,  J  will  praise 
‘thee:  thanksgiving-work  shall  be  closet-work.  II.  Many 
in  concert  shall  join  in  praising  God  for  the  common 
benefit  arising  from  this  salvation;  (v.  4.. 6.)  Ye  shall 
say,  praise  ye  the  Lord:  thanksgiving- work  shall  be  con¬ 
gregation-work;  and  the  praises  oi  God  shall  be  pub¬ 
licly  sung  in  the  congregations  of  the  upright. 

1.  4  ND  in  that  day  thou  shalt  say,  O 
£ JL  Lord,  I  will  praise  thee:  though 
thou  wast  angry  with  me,  thine  anger  is 
turned  away,  and  thou  comfortedst  me.  2. 
Behold,  God  is  my  salvation ;  I  will  trust, 
and  not  be  afraid:  for  the  Lord  JEHO¬ 
VAH  is  my  strength  and  my  song;  he  also 
is  become  my  salvation.  3.  Therefore  with 
joy  shall  ye  draw  water  out  of  the  wells  of 
salvation. 

This  is  the  former  part  of  the  hymn  of  praise 
which  is  prepared  for  the  use  of  the  church;  of  the 
Jewish  church,  when  God  would  work  great  deli¬ 
verances  for  them,  and  of  the  Christian  church- 
when  the  kingdom  of  the  Messiah  should  be  set  up 
in  the  world,  in  despite  of  the  opposition  of  the 
powers  of  darkness;  In  that  day  thou  shalt  say,  0 
Lord,  I  will  /iraise  thee.  The  scattered  church, 
being  united  into  one  body,  shall,  as  one  man,  with 
one  mind  and  one  mouth,  thus  praise  God,  who  is 
one,  and  his  name  one.  In  that  day,  when  the 
Lord  shall  do  these  great  things  for  thee,  thou  shalt 
sail,  0  Lord,  I  will  praise  thee.  That  is, 

I.  “  Thou  shalt  have  cause  to  say  so.”  The  pro¬ 
mise  is  sure,  and  the  blessings  contained  in  it  are 
very  rich,  and,  when  they  are  bestowed,  will  furnish 
the  church  with  abundant  matter  for  rejoicing,  and 
therefore  with  abundant  matter  for  thanksgiving. 
The  Old  Testament  prophecies  of  gospel-times  are 
often  expressed  by  the  joy  and  praise  that  shall  then 
be  excited;  for  the  inestimable  benefits  we  enjoy  by 
Jesus  Christ,  require  the  most  elevated  and  enlarg¬ 
ed  thanksgivings. 

II.  “Thou  shalt  have  a  heart  to  say  so.”  All 
God’s  other  gifts  to  his  people  shall  be  crowned 
with  this;  he  will  give  them  grace  to  ascribe  all 
the  glory  of  them  to  him,  and  to  speak  of  them 
upon  all  occasions,  with  thankfulness  to  his  praise. 
Thou  shalt  say,  thou  oughtest  to  say  so.  In  that 
day,  when  many  are  brought  home  to  Jesus  Christ, 
and  flock  to  him  as  doves  to  their  windows,  in¬ 
stead  of  envying  the  kind  reception  they  find  with 
Christ,  as  the  Jews  grudged  the  favour  shown 
to  the  Gentiles,  thou  shalt  say,  O  Lord,  I  will 
praise  thee.  Note,  We  ought  to  rejoice  in,  and 
give  thanks  for,  the  grace  of  God  to  others  as  well 
as  to  ourselves. 

1.  Believers  are  here  taught  to  give  thanks  to 
God  for  the  turning  away  of  his  displeasure  from 
them,  and  the  return  of  his  favour  to  them;  (v.  1.) 


0  Lord,  1  will  praise  thee,  though  thou  wast  anyry 
with  me.  Note,  Even  God’s  frowns  must  not  put 
us  out  of  tune  for  praising  him;  though  he  be  angry 
with  us,  though  he  slay  us,  yet  we  must  put  our 
trust  in  him,  and  give  him  thanks.  God  has  often 
just  cause  to  be  angry  with  us,  but  we  have  never 
any  reason  to  be  angry  with  him,  nor  to  speak 
otherwise  than  well  of  him;  even  when  he  blames 
us,  we  must  praise  him.  Thou  wast  angry  with 
us,  but  thine  anger  is  turned  away.  Note,  (1.) 
God  is  sometimes  angry  with  his  own  people,  and 
the  fruits  of  his  anger  do  appear:  they  ought  to 
take  notice  of  it,  that  they  may  humble  themselves 
under  his  mighty  hand.  (2.)  Though. God  may  for 
a  time  be  angry  with  his  people,  vet  his  anger  shall, 
at  length,  be  turned  away;  it  endures  but  for  a  mo¬ 
ment,  nor  will  he  contend  for  ever.  By  Jesus  Christ, 
the  Root  of  Jesse,  God’s  anger  against  mankind  was 
turned  away,  for  he  is  our  Peace.  (3.)  Those 
whom  God  is  reconciled  to,  he  comforts:  even  the 
turning  away  of  his  anger  is  a  comfort  to  them;  yet 
that  is  not  all,  they  that  are  at  peace  with  God,  may 
rejoice  in  the  hope  of  the  glory  of  God,  Rom.  v.  1, 
2.  Nay,  God  sometimes  brings  his  people  into  a 
wilderness,  that  there  he  may  speak  comfortably  to 
them,  Hosea  ii.  14.  (4.)  The  turning  away  cf 

God’s  anger,  and  the  return  of  his  comforts  to 
us,  ought  to  be  the  matter  of  our  joyful,  thankful 
praises. 

2.  They  are  taught  to  triumph  in  God,  and  their 
interest  in  him ;  (v.  2.)  “Behold,  and  wonder;  God 
is  my  salvation;  not  only  my  Saviour,  by  whom  I 
am  saved,  but  my  Salvation,  in  whom  I  am  safe. 
I  depend  upon  him  as  my  Salvation,  for  I  have 
found  him  to  be  so.  He  shall  have  the  glory  of 
all  the  salvations  that  have  been  wrought  for  me, 
and  from  him  only  will  I  expect  the  salvation's 
I  further  need,  and  not  from  hills  and  mountains: 
and  if  God  be  my  Salvation,  if  he  undertake  my 
eternal  salvation,  I  will  trust  in  him  to  prepare 
me  for  it,  and  preserve  me  to  it.  I  will  trust 
him  with  my  temporal  concerns,  not  doubting  but 
he  will  mate  all  to  work  for  my  good.  I  will 
be  confident,  I  will  be  always  easy  in  mv  own 
mind.”  Note,  Those  that  have  God  for  their  Sal¬ 
vation,  may  enjoy  themselves  with  a  holy  security 
and  serenity  of  mind;  let  faith  in  God,  as  cur  Sal¬ 
vation,  be  effectual.  (1.)  To  silence  our  fears;  we 
must  trust,  and  not  be  afraid;  not  be  afraid  that  the 
God  we  trust  in  will  fail  us;  no,  there  is  no  danger 
of  that;  not  be  afraid  of  any  creature,  though  ever 
so  formidable  and  threatening.  Note,  Faith  in  God 
is  a  sovereign  remedy  against  disquieting,  torment¬ 
ing  fears.  (2. )  To  support  our  hopes.  Is  the  Lord 
Jehovah  our  Salvation?  Then  he  will  be  our  Strength 
and  Song.  We  have  work  to  do  and  temptations  to 
resist,  we  may  depend  upon  him  to  enable  us  for 
both;  to  strengthen  us  with  all  might  by  his  Spirit 
in  the  inner  man,  for  he  is  our  strength ;  his  grace  is 
so,  and  that  grace  shall  be  sufficient  for  us.  We 
have  many  troubles  to  undergo,  and  must  expect 
griefs  in  a  vale  of  tears;  and  we  may  depend  upon 
him  to  comfort  us  in  all  our  tribulations,  for  he  is 
our  Song,  he  giveth  songs  in  the  night.  If  we 
make  God  our  strength,  and  put  our  confidence  in 
him,  he  will  be  our  strength;  if  we  make  him  cur 
Song,  and  place  our  comfort  in  him,  he  will  be  our 
Song.  Many  good  Christians  have  God  for  theii 
Strength,  who  have  him  not  for  their  Song;  they 
walk  in  darkness,  but  light  is  sown  for  them:  and 
they  that  have  God  for  their  Strength,  ought  to 
make  him  their  Song,  that  is,  to  give  him  the  glory 
of  it,  (see  Ps.  lxviii.  35.)  and  to  take  to  themselves 
the  comfort  of  it,  for  he  will  become  their  Salva¬ 
tion.  Observe  the  title  here  given  to  God,  Jah,  Je¬ 
hovah;  Jah  is  the  contraction  of  Jehovah,  and  both 
signify  his  eternity  and  unchangeableness;  which 


ISAIAH,  XH1. 


•.re  a  great  comfort  to  those  that  depend  upon  him 
as  their  Strength  and  their  Song.  Some  make  Jah 
to  signify  the  Son  of  God  made  man;  he  is  Jehovah, 
and  in  him  we  may  glory  as  o  ur  Strength,  and  Song, 
and  Salvation. 

3.  They  are  taught  to  derive  comfort  to  them¬ 
selves  from  the  love  of  God,  and  all  the  tokens  of 
that  love;  ( v .  3.)  “  Therefore,  because  the  Lord 
Jehovah  is-  vour  Strength  and  Song,  and  will  be 
vour  Salvation,  you  shall  draw  water  with  joy.” 
Note,  The  assurances  God  has  given  us  of  his  love, 
and  the  experiences  we  have  had  of  the  benefit 
and  comfort  of  his  grace,  should  greatly  encourage 
our  faith  in  him  and  our  expectations  from  him; 
“  Out  of  the  wells  of  Salvation  in  God,  who  is  the 
Fountain  of  all  good  to  his  people,  you  shall  draw 
water  with  joy.  God’s  favour  shall  flow  forth  to 
vou,  and  you  shall  have  the  comfort  of  it,  and  make 
use  of  the  blessed  fruits  of  it.”  Note,  (1.)  God’s 

romises  revealed,  ratified,  and  given  out  to  us,  in 
is  ordinances,  are  wells  of  salvation;  wells  of  the 
Saviour,  so  some  read  it;  for  in  them  the  Saviour 
and  salvation  are  made  known  to  us,  and  made  over 
to  us.  (2.)  It  is  our  duty  by  faith  to  draw  water 
out  of  these  wells,  to  take  to  ourselves  the  benefit 
and  comfort  that  are  treasured  up  for  us  in  them,  as 
those  that  acknowledge  all  our  fresh  springs  to  be 
there,  and  all  our  fresh  streams  to  be  thence,  Ps. 
lxxxvii.  7.  (3.)  Water  is  to  be  drawn  out  of  the 

wells  of  salvation  with  a  great  deal  of  pleasure  and 
satisfaction.  It  is  the  will  of  God  that  we  should 
rejoice  before  him,  and  rejoice  in  him,  (Dent.  xxvi. 
11.)  be  joyful  in  his  house  of  prayer,  (Isa.  lvi.  7.) 
and  keep  his  feasts  with  gladness,  Acts  ii.  46. 

4.  And  in  that  day  shall  ye  say,  Praise 
the  Lord,  call  upon  his  name,  declare  his 
doings  among  the  people,  make  mention 
that  his  name  is  exalted.  5.  Sing  unto 
the  Lord;  for  he  hath  done  excellent 
things:  this  is  known  in  all  the  earth.  6. 
Cry  out  and  shout,  thou  inhabitant  of  Zion: 
for  great  is  the  Holy  One  of  Israel  in  the 
midst  of  thee. 

This  is  the  second  part  of  this  evangelical  song, 
and  to  the  same  purport  with  the  former;  there  be¬ 
lievers  stir  up  themselves  to  praise  God;  here  they 
invite  and  encourage  one  another  to  do  it,  and  are 
contriving  to  spread  his  praise,  and  draw  in  others 
to  join  with  them  in  it.  Observe, 

1.  Who  are  here  called  upon  to  praise  God;  the 
inhabitants  of  Zion  and  Jerusalem,  whom  God  had 
in  a  particular  manner  protected  from  Sennache¬ 
rib’s  violence,  v.  6.  Those  that  have  received  dis¬ 
tinguishing  favours  from  God,  ought  to  be  most  for¬ 
ward  and  zealous  in  praising  him.  The  gospel- 
church  is  Zion,  Christ  is  Zion’s  King;  those  that 
have  a  place  and  a  name  in  that,  should  lay  out 
themselves  to  diffuse  the  knowledge  of  Christ,  and 
to  bring  many  to  him.  Thou  inhabitress  of  Zion; 
tlie  word  is  feminine;  Let  the  weaker  sex  be  strong 
in  the  Lord,  and  out  of  their  mouth  shall  praise  be 
perfected. 

2.  How  they  must  praise  the  Lord:  (1.)  By 
prayer  we  must  call  upon  his  name:  as  giving  thank’s 
f  ii'  former  mercy  is  a  decent  way  of  begging  fur¬ 
ther  mercy,  so  begging  further  mercy  is  graciously 
•>  ocepted  as  a  thankful  acknowledgment  of  the  mer¬ 
les  we  have  received.  In  calling  upon  God’s  name 
’c  give  unto  him  some  of  the  glory  that  is  due  to 

Vs  name  as  our  powerful  and  bountiful  Benefactor. 
v2.)  By  preaching  and  writing  we  must  not  only 
speak  to  God,  but  speak  to  others  concerning  him  ; 
not  only  call  upon  his  name,  but  (as  the  margin 


reads  it)  proclaim  his  name;  let  others  knew  some 
thing  more  from  us  than  they  did  before,  concern 
ing  God,  and  those  things  whereby  he  lias  mad? 
himself  known.  Declare  his  doings,  his  counsel ■; 
so  some  read  it;  the  work  of  redempti  n  is  accord¬ 
ing  to  the  counsel  of  his  will;  and  in  that  and  other 
wonderful  yvorks  that  he  has  done,  we  must  take 
notice  of  his  thoughts  which  are  to  us-ward,  Ps.  xl. 
5.  Declare  these  among  the  people,  among  the  hea¬ 
then,  that  they  may  be  brought  into  communion  yvith 
Israel  and  the  God  of  Israel.  When  the  apostles 
preached  the  gospel  to  all  nations,  beginning  at  Jem 
salem,  then  this  scripture  was  fulfilled,  that  his  do 
ing  should  be  declared  among  the  people,  and  that 
what  he  has  done  should  be  known  in  all  the  earth. 
(3.)  By  a  holy  exultation  and  transport,  of  joy, 
“  Cry  out  and  shout,  welcome  the  gospel  to  your¬ 
selves,  and  publish  it  to  others  with  huzzas  and 
loud  acclamations,  as  those  that  shout  for  victory, 
(Exod.  xxxii.  18.)  or  for  the  coronation  of  a  king'” 
Numb,  xxiii.  21. 

3.  For  what  thev  must  praise  the  Lord;  (1.)  Be¬ 
cause  he  has  glorified  himself.  Remember  it  your¬ 
selves,  and  make  mention  of  it  to  others,  that  his 
name  is  exalted,  is  become  more  illustrious  and 
more  conspicuous;  in  this  every  good  man  rejoices. 
(2.)  Because  he  has  magnified  his  people;  he  has 
done  excellent  things  for  them,  which  make  them 
look  great  and  considerable.  (3.)  Because  he  is, 
and  will  be,  great  among  them;  great  is  the  Holy 
One,  for  he  is  glorious  in  holiness;  therefore  great 
because  holy;  true  goodness  is  true  greatness;  great 
as  the  Holy  One  of  Israel,  and  in  the  midst  of  them; 
praised  by  them,  (Ps.  lxxvi.  1.)  manifesting  him¬ 
self  among  them,  and  appearing  gloriously  in  their 
behalf.  It  is  the  honour  and  happiness  of  Israel, 
that  the  God  yvho  is  in  covenant  yvith  them,  and  in 
the  midst  of  them,  is  infinitely  great. 

CHAP.  XIII. 

Hitherto,  the  prophecies  of  this  book  related  only  to  Ju¬ 
dah  and  Israel,  and  Jerusalem  especially:  but  now  the 
prophet  begins  to  look  abroad,  and  to  read  the  doom  of 
divers  of  the  neighbouring  slates  and  kingdoms;  for  he 
that  is  King  of  saints,  is  also  King  of  nations,  and  ruler 
in  the  affairs  of  the  children  of  men  as  well  as  in  those 
of  his  own  children.  But  the  nations  to  whom  these 
prophecies  do  relate,  were  all  such  as  the  people  of  God 
were  some  way  or  other  conversant  and  concerned 
with;  such  as  had  been  kind  or  unkind  to  Israel,  and 
accordingly  God  would  deal  with  them,  either  in  favour 
or  in  wrath;  for  the  Lord’s  portion  is  his  people,  and  to 
them  he  has  an  eye  in  all  the  dispensations  of  his  provi¬ 
dence  concerning  those  about  them,  Deut.  xxxii.  8,  9. 
The  threatenings  we  find  here,  against  Babylon,  Mnab, 
Damascus,  Egypt,  Tyre,  ^-c.  were  intended  for  comfort 
to  those  in  Israel  that  feared  God,  but  were  terrified  and 
oppressed  by  those  potent  neighbours,  and  for  alarm  to 
those  among  them  that  were  wicked.  If  God  would 
thus  severely  reckon  with  those  for  their  sins  that  know 
him  not,  and  made  not  profession  of  his  name,  how  se¬ 
vere  would  he  be  with  those  that  were  called  by  his  name, 
and  yet  live  in  rebellion  against  him!  And  perhaps  the 
directing  of  particular  prophecies  to  the  neighbouring 
nations,  might  invite  some  of  those  nations  to  the  read¬ 
ing  of  the  Jew's’  Bible,  and  so  they  might  be  brought  to 
their  religion.  This  chapter,  and  that  which  follows,  con¬ 
tain  what  God  had  to  say  to  Babylon  and  Babylon’s 
king,  who  were  at  present  little  known  to  Israel,  but 
would  in  process  of  time  become  a  greater  enemy  to 
them  than  any  other  had  been,  for  which  God  would  at 
last  reckon  with  them.  In  this  chapter,  we  have,  I.  A 
general  rendezvous  of  the  forces  that  were  to  be  em¬ 
ployed  against  Babylon,  v.  1.  .5.  II.  The  dreadful  bloody 
work  that  those  forces  should  make  in  Babylon,  v.  6.  .18. 
III.  The  utter  ruin  and  desolation  of  Babylon,  which 
this  should  end  in,  v.  19.  .22. 

1 .  rpHE  burden  of  Babylon,  which  Isaiah 
JL  the  son  of  Amoz  did  see.  2.  Lift 
ye  up  a  banner  upon  the  high  mountain, 


73 


ISAIAH,  XITT. 


exalt  the  voice  unto  them,  shake  the  hand, 
that  they  may  go  into  the  gates  of  the  no¬ 
bles.  3.  1  have  commanded  my  sanctified 
ones,  1  have  also  called  my  mighty  ones  for 
mine  anger,  even  them  that  rejoice  in  my 
highness.  4.  The  noise  of  a  multitude  in 
the  mountains,  like  as  of  a  great  people;  a 
tumultuous  noise  of  the  kingdoms  of  na¬ 
tions  gathered  together:  the  Loud  of  hosts 
mustereth  the  host  of  the  battle.  5.  They 
come  from  a  far  country,  from  the  end  of 
heaven,  even  the  Lord,  and  the  weapons  of 
his  indignation,  to  destroy  the  whole  land. 

The  general  title  of  this  book  was,  The  visions 
t f  Isaiah  the  son  of  Amoz,  ch.  i.  1.  This  is  that 
which  Isaiah  did  see,  which  was  represented  to  his 
mind  as  clearly  and  fully  as  if  he  had  seen  it  with 
his  bodily  eyes:  but  the  particular  inscription  of 
this  serm  n,  is,  the  burthen  of  Babylon:  1.  It  is  a 
burthen,  a  lesson  they  were  to  learn;  so  some  un¬ 
derstand  it;  but  they  would  be  loath  to  learn  it,  and 
it  would  be  a  burthen  to  their  memories,  or  a  load 
which  should  lie  heavy  upon  them,  and  under  which 
they  should  sink.  'I' hose  that  will  not  make  the 
word  of  God  their  rest,  (ch.  xxviii.  12.  Jer.  vi. 
.6. )  it  shall  be  made  a  burthen  to  them.  2.  It  is 
the  burthen  of  Babylon  or  Babel,  which  at  this  time 
was  a  dependent  upon  the  Assyrian  monarchy,  (the 
metropolis  of  which  was  Nineveh,)  but  soon  after 
revolted  from  it,  and  became  a  monarchy  of  itself, 
and  a  very  potent  one,  in  Nebuchadnezzar.  This 
prophet  afterward  foretold  the  captivity  of  the 
Jews  in  Babylon,  ch.  xxxix.  6.  Here  he  foretells 
the  reprisals  God  would  make  upon  Babylon  for  the 
wrongs  done  to  his  people. 

In  these  verses  a  summons  is  given  to  those  pow¬ 
erful  and  warlike  nations,  whom  God  would  make 
use  of  as  the  instruments  of  his  wrath  for  the  de¬ 
struction  of  Babylon:  he  afterward  names  them  ( v . 
17.)  the  Medes,'  who,  in  conjunction  with  the  Per¬ 
sians  under  the  command  of  Darius  and  Cyrus, 
were  the  ruin  of  the  Babylonian  monarchy. 

1.  The  place  doomed  to  destruction  is  Babylon; 
it  is  here  called  the  gates  of  the  nobles,  (xn  2.)  be¬ 
cause  in  the  abundance  of  noblemen’s  houses  that 
were  in  it;  stately  ones,  and  richly  furnished,  which 
would  invite  the  enemy  to  come,  in  hopes  of  a  rich 
booty.  The  gates  of  nobles  were  strong  and  well 
guarded,  and  yet  they  would  be  no  fence  against 
those  who  came  with  commission  to  execute  God’s 
judgments.  Before  his  power  and  wrath,  palaces 
are  no  more  than  cottages;  nor  is  it  only  the  gates 
of  the  nobles,  but  the  whole  land,  that  is  doomed  to 
destruction;  (v.  5.)  for  though  the  nobles  were  the 
leaders  in  persecuting  and  oppressing  God’s  people, 
yet  the  whole  land  concurred  with  them  in  it. 

(2. )  The  persons  brought  together  to  lay  Babylon 
waste,  are  here  called,  [1.]  God’s  sanctified  ones, 
(v.  3. )  designed  for  this  service,  and  set  apart  to  it 
by  the  purpose  and  providence  of  God;  disengaged 
from  other  projects,  that  they  might  wholly  apply 
themselves  to  this;  such  as  were  qualified  for  that 
to  which  they  were  called;  for  what  work  God  em¬ 
ploys  men  in,  he  does  in  some  measure  fit  them  for. 
it  intimates  likewise  that  in  God’s  intention,  though 
not  in  theirs,  it  was  a  holy  war;  they  designed  only 
the  enlargement  of  their  own  empire,  but  God  de¬ 
signed  the  release  of  hispeople,  and  a  type  of  the 
destruction  of  the  New  Testament  Babylon.  Cyrus, 
the  person  principally  concerned,  was  justly  called 
a  sanctified  one,  for  he  was  God’s  anointed,  (ch. 
xlv.  1.)  and  a  figure  of  him  that  was  to  come.  It  is 
a  p:tv  but  all  soldiers,  especially  those  that  fight  the 

Vol.  iv. — K 


Lord’s  battles,  should  be,  in  the  strictest  sense, 
sanctified  ones;  it  is  a  wonder  they  dare  be  profane 
ones,  who  carry  their  lives  in  their  hands.  [2.] 
They  are  called  God’s  mighty  ones,  because  thev 
had  their  might  from  God,  and  were  now  to  use  it 
f  r  him.  It  is  said  of  Cyrus,  that  in  this  expedition 
God  held  his  right  hand,  ch.  xlv.  1.  God’s  sancti¬ 
fied  ones  are  his  mighty  ones;  whom  God  calls,  he 
qualifies;  and  whom  he  makes  holy,  he  makes 
strong  in  spirit.  [3.]  They  are  said  to  rejoice  in 
his  highness,  to  serve  his  glory  and  the  purposes  of 
it  with  great  alacrity.  Though  Cyrus  did  not  know 
God,  nor  actually  design  his  honour  in  what  he  did, 
yet  God  used  him  as  his  servant;  (ch.  xlv.  4.  I  hi.  t  e 
surname d  thee  as  my  servant,  though  thou  hast  not 
known  me;)  and  he  rejoiced  in  those  successes  b  / 
which  God  exalted  his  own  name.  [4.]  They  m< 
very  numerous,  a  multitude,  a  great  people;  kiny 
doms  of  nations,  (v.  4.)  not  rude  and  barbarous,  1/  > 
modeled  and  regular  troops,  such  as  are  furnish  c’ 
out  by  well-ordered  kingdoms:  the  great  God  ha 
hosts  at  his  command.  [5.]  They  are  far-fetched, 
they  come  from  the  end  of  heaven:  the  vast  country 
of  Assyria  lay  between  Babylon  and  Persia.  God 
can  make  those  a  scourge  and  ruin  to  his  enemies 
that  lie  most  remote  from  them,  and  therefore  are 
least  dreaded. 

(3.)  The  summons  given  them  is  effectual,  their 
obedience  ready,  and  they  make  a  very  formidable 
appearance;  A  banner  is  lifted  up  upon  the  high 
mountain,  v.  2.  God’s  standard  is  set  up,  a  flag  of 
defiance  hung  out  against  Babylon.  It  is  erected 
on  high,  where  all  may  see  it;  whoever  will,  may 
erme,  and  enlist  themselves  under  it,  and  they  shall 
be  taken  immediately  into  God’s  pay.  They  that 
beat  for  volunteers,  must  exalt  the  voice  in  making 
proclamation,  to  encourage  soldiers  to  come  in;  they 
must  shake  the  hand,  to  beckon  those  at  a  distance, 
and  to  animate  those  that  have  enlisted  themselves. 
And  they  shall  not  do  this  in  vain;  God  has  com¬ 
manded  and  called  those  whom  he  designs  to  make 
use  of,  (v.  5.)  and  power  goes  along  with  his  calls 
and  commands,  which  cannot  be  resisted.  He  that 
makes  men  able  to  serve  him,  can,  when  he  pleases, 
make  them  willing  too:  it  is  the  Lord  of  hosts  that 
musters  the  host  of  the  battle,  v.  4.  He  raises  them, 
brings  them  together,  puts  them  in  order,  reviews 
them,  has  an  exact  account  of  them  in  his  muster- 
roll,  sees  that  they  be  all  in  their  respective  posts, 
and  gives  them  their  necessary  orders.  Note,  All 
the  hosts  of  war  arc  under  the  command  of  the  Lord 
of  hosts;  and  that  which  makes  them  truly  formida¬ 
ble,  is,  that  when  they  come  against  Babylon,  the 
Lord  comes,  and  brings  them  with  him  as  the  wea¬ 
pons  of  his  indignation,  v.  5.  Note,  Great  princes 
and  armies  are  but  tools  in  God’s  hands,  weapons 
that  he  is  pleased  to  make  use  of  in  doing  his  work, 
and  it  is  his  wrath  that  arms  them,  and  gives  them 
success. 

6.  Howl  ve;  for  the  day  of  the  Lord  is 
at  haod;  it  shall  come  as  a  destruction  from 
the  Almighty.  7.  Therefore  shall  all  hands 
be  faint,  and  every  man’s  heart  shall  melt : 
8.  And  they  shall  be  afraid:  pangs  and  sor¬ 
rows  shall  take  hold  of  them;  they  shall  he 
in  pain  as  a  woman  that  travaileth;  they 
shall  be  amazed  one  at  another;  their  faces 
shall  hr  as  flames.  9.  Behold,  the  day  of 
the  Lord  cometh,  cruel  both  with  wrath 
and  fierce  anger,  to  lay  the  land  desolate, 
and  he  shall  destroy  the  sinners  thereof  out 
of  it.  10.  For  the  stars  of  heaven,  and  the 


74 


ISAIAH,  Xlll. 


constellations  thereof,  shall  not  give  their : 
light:  the  sun  shall  be  darkened  in  his  going 
forth,  and  the  moon  shall  not  cause  her 
light  to  shine.  11.  And  I  will  punish  the 
world  for  their  evil,  and  the  wicked  for  their 
iniquity;  and  I  will  cause  the  arrogancy  of 
the  proud  to  cease,  and  will  lay  low  the 
haughtiness  of  the  terrible.  12.  I  will  make 
a  man  more  precious  than  fine  gold;  even  a 
man  tnan  the  golden  wedge  of  Ophir.  13. 
Therefore  I  will  shake  the  heavens,  and  the 
earth  shall  remove  out  of  her  place,  in  the 
wrath  of  the  Lord  of  hosts,  and  in  the  day 
of  his  fierce  anger.  1 4  And  it  shall  be  as 
the  chased  roe,  and  as  a  sheep  that  no  man 
taketh  up:  they  shall  every  man  turn  to  his 
own  people,  and  flee  every  one  into  his  own 
land.  1 5.  Every  one  that  is  found  shall  be 
thrust  through;  and  every  one  that  is  joined 
unto  them  shall  fall  by  the  sword.  16.  Their 
children  also  shall  be  dashed  to  pieces  be¬ 
fore  their  eyes;  their  houses  shall  be  spoiled, 
and  their  wives  ravished.  17.  Behold,  I 
will  stir  up  the  Medes  against  them,  which 
shall  not  regard  silver;  and  as  for  gold,  \ 
they  shall  not  delight  in  it.  18.  Their  bewc 
also  shall  dash  the  young  men  to  pieces ; 
and  they  shall  have  no  pity  on  the  fruit  of 
the  worn!) ;  their  eye  shall  not  spare  chil¬ 
dren. 

We  have  here  a  very  elegant  and  lively  descrip¬ 
tion  of  the  terrible  confusion  and  desolation  which 
should  be  made  in  Babylon  by  the  descent  which 
the  Medes  and  Persians  should  make  upon  it.  They 
that  were  now  secure  and  easy,  are  bid  to  howl,  and 
make  sad  lamentation.  For, 

1.  God  is  about  to  appear  in  wrath  against  them, 
and  it  is  a  feayful  thing  to  fail  into  his  hands;  The 
day  of  the  Lord  is  at  hand,  (v.  6.)  a  little  day  of 
judgment,  when  God  will  act  as  a  just  Avenger  of 
his  own  and  his  people’s  injured  cause.  And  there 
are  those  who  will  have  reason  to  tremble  when 
that  day  is  at  hand;  the  day  of  the  Lord  cometh,  v. 
9.  Men  have  their  day  now,  and  they  think  to 
carry  the  day;  but  God  laughs  at  them,  for  he  sees 
that  his  day  is  coming,  Fs.  xxxvii.  13.  Fury  is  not 
with  God,  and  yet  his  day  of  reckoning  with  the 
Babylonians  is  said  to  be  cruel  with  turath  and  fierce 
anger.  God  will  deal  in  severity  with  them  for  the 
severities  they  exercised  upon  God’s  people;  with 
the  froward,  with  the  cruel,  he  will  show  himself 
froward,  will  show  himself  cruel,  and  give  the 
blood-thirsty  blood  to  drink. 

2.  Their  hearts  shall  fail  them,  and  they  shall 
have  neither  courage  nor  comfort  left;  they  shall 
not  be  able  either  to  resist  the  judgment  coming,  or 
to  bear  up  under  it,  either  to  oppose  the  enemy,  or 
to  support  themselves,  v.  7,  8.  They  that  in  the 
day  of  their  peace  were  proud,  and  haughty,  and 
terrible,  (t>.  11.)  are,  when  trouble  comes,  quite 
dispirited,  and  are  at  their  wits’  end;  all  hands 
shall  be  faint,  and  unable  to  hold  a  weapon,  and 
every  man’s  heart  shall  melt,  so  that  they  shall  be 
ready  to  die  for  fear.  The  pangs  of  their  fear  shall 
be  like  those  of  a  woman  in  hard  labour,  and  they 
shall  be  amazed  one  at  another;  in  frightening  them¬ 
selves,  they  shall  frighten  one  another;  they  shall 
wonder  tu  see  those  tremble,  that  used  to  be  bold 


and  daring;  or,  they  shall  be  amazed,  looking  one 
at  another  as  men  at  a  loss,  Gen.  xlii.  1.  Their 
faces  shall  be  as  flames,  pale  as  flames,  through 
fear;  so  some;  or  red  as  flames  sometimes  are, 
blushing  at  their  own  cowardice;  or  their  faces  shall 
be  as  faces  scorched  with  the  flames,  or  as  theirs 
that  labour  in  the  fire,  their  visage  blacker  than  a 
coal;  'or  like  a  bottle  in  the  smoke,  Ps.  cxix.  83. 

3.  All  comfort  and  hope  shall  fail  them;  v.  10. 
The  stars  of  heaven  shall  not  give  their  light,  but 
shall  be  clouded  and  overcast;  the  sun  shall  be  dark¬ 
ened  in  his  going  forth,  rising  bright,  but  lost  again, 
a  certain  sign  of  foul  weather.  They  shall  be  as 
men  in  distress  at  sea,  when  neither  sun  nor  star; 
appear,  Acts  xxvii.  20.  It  shall  be  as  dreadful  a 
time  with  them  as  it  would  be  with  the  earth,  if  all 
the  heavenly  luminaries  were  turned  into  darkness; 
a  resemblance  of  the  day  of  judgment,  when  the  sun 
shall  be  turned  into  darkness.  The  heavens  frown¬ 
ing  thus,  is  an  indication  of  the  displeasure  of  the 
God  of  heaven;  when  things  look  dark  on  earth, 
yet  it  is  well  enough  if  all  be  clear  upward;  but  it 
we  have  no  comfort  thence,  wherewith  shall  we  be 
comforted? 

4.  God  will  visit  them  for  their  iniquity;  and  ah 
this  is  intended  for  the  punishment  of  sin,  and  par¬ 
ticularly  the  sin  of  pride,  v.  11.  This  puts  worm¬ 
wood  and  gall  into  the  affliction  and  misery,  (1.) 
That  sin  must  now  have  its  punishment;  though 
Babylon  be  a  little  world,  yet,  being  a  wicked  world, 
it  shall  not  go  unpunished.  Sin  brings  desolation  cn 
the  world  of  the  ungodly;  and  when  the  kingdoms 
of  the  earth  are  quarrelling  with  one  another,  it  is 
the  fruit  of  God’s  controversy  with  them  all.  (2.) 
That  pride  must  now  have  its  fall.  The  haughti¬ 
ness  of  the  terrible  must  now  be  laid  low,  particu¬ 
larly  of  Nebuchadnezzar  and  his  son  Belshazzar, 
who  had,  in  their  pride,  trampled  upon,  and  made 
themselves  very  terrible  to,  the  people  of  God.  A 
man’s  firide  will  bring  him  low. 

5.  There  shall  be  so  great  a  slaughter  as  will  pro¬ 
duce  a  scarcity  of  men;  (v.  12.)  I  will  make  a  man 
more  precious  than  fine  gold.  You  could  not  have 
a  man  to  be  employed  in  any  of  the  affairs  of  state, 

!  not  a  man  to  be  enlisted  in  the  army,  not  a  man  to 
match  a  daughter  to,  for  the  building  up  of  a  family, 
if  you  would  give  any  money  for  one.  The  troops 
of  the  neighbouring  nations  would  not  be  hired  into 
the  service  of  the  king  of  Babylon,  because  they 
saw  every  thing  go  against  him.  Populous  coun¬ 
tries  are  soon  depopulated  by  war.  And  God  can 
soon  make  a  kingdom  that  has  been  courted  and  ad¬ 
mired,  to  be  dreaded  and  shunned  by  all,  as  a  house 
that  is  falling,  or  a  ship  that  is  sinking. 

6.  There  shall  be  a  universal  confusion  and  con¬ 
sternation;  such  a  confusion  of  their  affairs,  that  it 
shall  be  like  the  shaking  of  the  heavens,  with  dread¬ 
ful  thunders,  and  the  removing  of  the  earth,  by  no 
less  dreadful  earthquakes.  All  shall  go  to  wreck 
and  ruin  in  the  day  of  the  wrath  of  the  Lord  of 
hosts;  v.  13.  And  such  a  consternation  shall  seize 
their  spirits,  that  Babylon,  which  used  to  be  like  a 
roaring  lion,  and  a  ranging  bear,  to  all  about  her, 
shall  become  as  a  chased  roe,  and  as  a  sheep  that  no 
man  takes  up,  v.  14.  The  army  they  shall  bring 
into  the  field,  consisting  of  troop's  of  divers  nations, 
(as  great  armies  usually  do,)  shall  be  so  dispersed 
by  their  enemies’  sword,  that  they  shall  turn  cz'ery 
man  to  his  own  people,  each  man  shall  shift  for  his 
own  safety;  the  men  of  inight  shall  not  find  their 
hands,  (Ps.  lxxvi.  5.)  but  take  to  their  heels. 

8.  There  shall  be  a  general  scene  of  blood  and 
horror,  as  is  usuA  where  the  sword  devrurs.  -Vo 
wonder  that  everv  one  makes  the  best  of  his  way 
since  the  conqueror  gives  no  quarter,  but  puts  all 
to  the  sword,  and  not  those  oniv  that  are  found  in 
arms,  as  is  usual  with  us  even  in  the  most  cruel 


75 


ISAIAH,  XIII. 


slaughters:  (v.  15.)  Every  one  that  is  found  alive, 
shall  he  run  through,  as  soon  ;:s  ever  it  appears  that 
he  is  a  Babylonian.  Nay,  because  the  sword  de¬ 
vours  one  as  well  as  another,  every  one  that  is  joined 
to  them,  shall  fall  by  the  sword;  those  of  other  na¬ 
tions  that  come  in  to  their  assistance,  shall  be  Cut  off 
with  them.  It  is  dangerous  being  in  bad  company, 
and  helping  those  whom  God  is  about  to  destroy : 
those  particularly  that  join  themselves  to  Babylon, 
must  expect  to  share  in  her  plagues,  Rev.  xviii.  4. 
And  since  the  most  sacred  laws  of  nature,  and  hu¬ 
manity  itself,  are  silenced  by  the  fury  of  war,  (though 
they  cannot  be  cancelled ,)  the  conquerors  shall,  in 
the  most  barbarous  brutish  manner,  dash  the  chil¬ 
dren  to  pieces,  and  ravish  the  wives.  Jusque  datum 
sce/eri — JVickedness  shall  have  free  course,  v.  16. 
They  had  thus  dealt  with  God’s  people,  (Lam.  v. 
11.)  and  now  they  shall  be  paid  in  their  own  coin, 
Rev.  iii.  10.  It  was  particularly  foretold,  (Ps. 
cxxxvii.  9. )  that  the  little  ones  of 'Baby Ion  should 
be  dashed  against  the  stones.  How  cruel.  soever, 
and  unjust,  they  were  that  did  it,  God  was  righteous 
who  suffered  it  to  be  done,  and  to  be  done  before 
their  eyes,  to  their  great  terror  and  vexation.  It 
was  just  also  that  the  houses  which  they  had  filled 
with  the  spoil  of  Israel,  should  be  spoiled  and  plun¬ 
dered.  What  is  got  by  rapine,  is  often  lost  in  the 
same  manner. 

8.  The  enemy  that  God  would  send  against  them, 
sh  uld  be  inexorable,  probably  being  by  some  pro¬ 
vocation  or  other  more  than  ordinarily  exasperated 
against  them;  or,  however,  God  himself  will  stir  up 
the  Medes  to  use  this  severity  with  the  Babylonians. 
He  will  not  only  serve  his  own  purposes  by  their 
dispositions  and  designs,  but  will  put  it  into  their 
hearts  to  make  this  attempt  upon  Babylon,  and 
suffer  them  to  prosecute  it  with  all  this  fury.  God 
is  not  the  author  of  sin,  but  he  would  not  permit  it 
if  he  did  not  know  how  to  bring  glory  to  himself  out 
of  it.  These  Medes,  in  conjunction  with  the  Per¬ 
sians,  shall  make  thorough  work  of  it.  F or, 

( 1. )  They  shall  take  no  bribes,  v.  17.  All  that 
men  have  they  would  give  for  their  lives,  but  the 
PEdes  shall  not  regard  silver;  it  is  blood  they  thirst 
for,  not  gold;  no  man’s  riches  shall  with  them  be  the 
ransom  of  his  life. 

(2.)  They  shall  show  no  pity,  (v.  18.)  not  to  the 
young  men  that  are  in  the  prime  of  their  time,  they 
shall  shoot  them  through  with  their  bows,  and  then 
dash  them  to  pieces;  not  to  the  age  of  innocency, 
they  shall  have  no  pity  on  the  fruit  of  the  womb,  nor 
spare  little  children,  whose  cries  and  frights  one 
would  think  should  make  even  marble  eyes  to  weep, 
and  hearts  of  adamant  to  relent.  Pause  a  little  here, 
and  wonder,  [1.]  That  men  should  be  thus  cruel 
and  inhuman,  and  so  utterly  divested  of  all  compas¬ 
sion;  and  in  it  see  how  corrupt  and  degenerate  the 
nature  of  man  is  become.  [2.]  That  the  God  of 
infinite  mercy  should  suffer  it,  nay,  and  should  make 
it  to  be  the  execution  of  his  justice;  which  shows 
that  though  he  is  gracious,  yet  he  is  the  God  to 
whom  vengeance  belongs.  [3.]  That  little  infants, 
who  have  never  been  guilty  of  any  actual  sin,  should 
be  thus  abused;  which  shows  that  there  is  an  origi¬ 
nal  guilt,  by  which  life  is  forfeited  as  soon  as  it  is  had. 

19.  And  Babylon,  the  glory  of  kingdoms, 
the  beauty  of  the  Chaldees’  excellency, 
shall  be  as  when  God  overthrew  Sodom  and 
Gomorrah.  20.  It  shall  never  be  inhabited, 
neither  shall  it  be  dwelt  in  from  generation 
fo  generation;  neither  shall  the  Arabian 
pitch  tent  there,  neither  shall  the  shepherds 
make  their  fold  there:  21.  But  wild  beasts 
of  the  desert  shall  lie  there;  and  their  houses 


shall  be  full  of  doleful  creatures;  and  owls 
shall  dwell  there,  and  satyrs  shall  dance 
there.  22.  And  the  wild  beasts  of  the  islands 
shall  cry  in  their  desolate  houses,  and  dra¬ 
gons  in  their  pleasant  palaces;  and  her  time 
is  near  to  come,  and  her  days  shall  not  be 
prolonged. 

The  great  havoc  and  destruction  which  it  was 
foretold  should  be  made  by  the  Medes  and  Persians 
in  Babylon,  here  end  in  the  final  destruction  of  it. 

1.  It  is  allowed  that  Babylon  was  a  noble  city;  it 
was  the  glory  of  kingdoms,  and  the  beauty  of  the 
Chaldees’  excellency;  it  was  that  head  of  gold; 
(Dan.  ii.  37,  38.)  it  was  called  the  lady  of  king¬ 
doms,  ( ch .  xlvii.  5.)  the  praise  of  the  whole  earth, 
(Jer.  li.  41.)  like  a  pleasant  roe;  (so  the  word  signi¬ 
fies;)  but  it  shall  be  as  a  chased  roe;  (y.  14.)  the 
Chaldeans  gloried  in  the  beauty  and  wealth  of  this 
their  metropolis. 

2.  It  is  foretold  that  it  should  be  wholly  destroy¬ 
ed,  like  Sodom  and  Gomorrah;  not  so  miraculously, 
nor  so  suddenly,  but  as  effectually,  though  gradual¬ 
ly;  and  the  destruction  should  come  upon  them  as 
that  upon  Sodom,  when  they  were  secure,  eating 
and  drinking,  Luke  xvii.  28.  Babylon  was  taken 
when  Belshazzar  was  in  his  revel;  and  though  Cy¬ 
rus  and  Darius  did  not  demolish  it,  yet  by  degrees 
it  wasted  away,  and  in  process  of  time  it  went  all 
to  ruin.  It  is  foretold  here,  (v.  20.)  that  it  shall 
never  be  inhabited;  in  Adrian’s  time,  nothing  re¬ 
mained  but  the  wall.  And  whereas  it  is  prophesied 
concerning  Nineveh,  that  great  city,  that  when  it 
should  be  deserted  and  left  desolate,  yet  flocks 
should  lie  down  in  the  midst  of  it;  it  is  here  said 
concerning  Babylon,  that  the  Arabians,  who  were 
shepherds,  should  not  make  their  folds  there;  the 
country  about  should  be  so  barren,  that  there  would 
be  no  grazing  there;  no,  not  for  sheep;  nay,  it  shall 
be  the  receptacle  of  wild  beasts,  that  affect  solitude; 
the  houses  of  Babylon,  where  the  sons  and  daughters 
of  pleasure  used  to  rendezvous,  shall  be  full  of  dole¬ 
ful  creatures,  owls  and  satyrs,  that  are  themselves 
frightened  thither,  as  to  a  place  proper  for  them, 
and  by  whom  all  others  are  frightened  thence.  His¬ 
torians  say  that  this  was  fulfilled  to  the  letter.  Ben¬ 
jamin  Bar-Jona,  in  his  Itinerary,  speaking  of  Babel, 
has  these  words;  “  This  is  that  Babel  which  was, 
of  old,  thirty  miles  in  breadth;  it  is  now  laid  waste; 
there  are  yet  to  be  seen  the  ruins  of  a  palace  of  Ne¬ 
buchadnezzar,  but  the  sons  of  men  dare  not  enter  in, 
for  fear  of  serpents  and  scorpions,  which  possess  the 
place.  ”  Let  none  be  proud  of  their  pompous  pa¬ 
laces,  for  they  know  not  but  they  may  become  worse 
than  cottages;  nor  let  any  think  that  their  houses 
shall  endure  for  ever,  (Ps.  xlix.  11.)  when  perhaps 
nothing  may  remain  but  the  ruins  and  reproaches 
of  them. 

3.  It  is  intimated  that  this  destniction  should 
come  shortly;  {v.  22.)  Her  time  is  near  to  come. 
This  prophecy  of  the  destruction  of  Babylon  was 
intended  for  the  support  and  comfort  of  the  people 
of  God  when  they  were  captives  there,  and  griev¬ 
ously  oppressed;  and  the  accomplishment  of  the 
prophecy  was  near  200  years  after  the  time  when  it 
was  delivered;  yet  it  followed  soon  after  the  time 
for  which  it  was  calculated.  When  the  people  of 
Israel  were  groaning  under  the  heavy  yoke  of  Baby 
lonish  tyranny,  sitting  down  in  tears  by  the  rivers 
of  Babylon,  and  upbraided  with  the  songs  of  Zion, 
when  their  insolent  oppressors  were  most  haughty 
and  arrogant,  (v.  11.)  then  let  them  know,  for  their 
comfort,  that  Babylon’s  time,  her  day  to  fall,  was 
near  to  come,  and  the  days  of  her  prosperity  shall 
not  be  prolonged,  as  they  have  been;  when  God 
begins  with  her,  he  will  make  an  end.  Thus  it  is 


r6  ISAIAH,  XIV, 


said  of  the  destruction  of  the  New  Testament  Baby¬ 
lon,  whereof  the  former  was  a  type;  In  one  hour 
is  her  judgment  come. 

CHAP.  XIV. 

In  this  chapter,  I.  More  weight  is  added  to  the  burthen  of 
Babylon,  enough  to  sink  it  like  a  mill-stone;  I.  It  is  Is¬ 
rael’s  cause  that  is  to  be  pleaded  in  this  quarrel  with 
Babylon,  v.  1  . .  3.  2.  The  king  of  Babylon,  for  the  time 
being,  shall  be  remarkably  brought  down  and  triumphed 
over,  v.  4.  .  20.  3.  The  whole  race  of  the  Babylonians 

shall  be  cut  off  and  extirpated,  v.  21  .  .  23.  II.  A  con¬ 
firmation  of  the  prophecy  of  the  destruction  of  Babylon, 
which  was  a  thing  at  a  distance,  is  here  given  in  the  pro¬ 
phecy  of  the  destruction  of  the  Assyrian  army  that  in¬ 
vaded  the  land,  which  happened  not  long  after,  v.  24  . .  27. 
III.  The  success  of  Hezekiah  against  the  Philistines  is 
here  foretold,  and  the  advantages  which  his  people 
would  gain  thereby,  v.  28  . .  32. 

1.  I A  OR  the  Lord  will  have  mercy  on  Ja- 
X.  cob,  and  will  yet  choose  Israel,  and 
set  them  in  their  own  land :  and  the  stran¬ 
gers  shall  be  joined  with  them,  and  they 
shall  cleave  to  the  house  of  Jacob.  2.  And 
the  people  shall  take  them,  and  bring  them 
to  their  place;  and  the  house  of  Israel  shall 
possess  them  in  the  land  of  the  Lord  for 
servants  and  handmaids:  and  they  shall 
take  them  captives,  whose  captives  they 
were;  and  they  shall  rule  over  their  op¬ 
pressors.  3.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass,  in 
the  day  that  the  Lord  shall  give  thee  rest 
from  thy  sorrow,  and  from  thy  fear,  and 
from  the  hard  bondage  wherein  thou  wast 
made  to  serve. 

This  comes  in  here  as  the  reason  why  Babylon 
must  be  overthrown  and  ruined;  because  God  has 
mercy  in  store  for  his  people,  and  therefore,  1.  The 
injuries  done  to  them  must  be  reckoned  for,  and  re¬ 
venged  upon  their  persecutors.  Mercy  to  Jacob 
will  be  wrath  and  ruin  to  Jacob’s  impenitent,  im¬ 
placable  adversaries,  such  as  Babylon  was.  2.  The 
yoke  of  oppression  which  Babylon  had  long  laid  on 
their  necks,  must  be  broken  off,  and  they  must  be 
set  at  liberty;  in  order  to  this,  the  destruction  of 
Babylon  is  as  necessary  as  the  destmction  of  Egypt 
and  Pharaoh  was  to  their  deliverance  out  of  that 
house  of  bondage.  The  same  prediction  is  a  pro¬ 
mise  to  God’s  people,  and  a  threatening  to  their 
enemies,  as  the  same  providence  has  a  bright  side 
towards  Israel,  and  a  black  and  thick  side  toward 
the  Egyptians.  Observe, 

I.  The  ground  of  these  favours  to  Jacob  and  Is¬ 
rael — the  kindness  God  had  for  them,  and  the 
choice  he  had  made  of  them;  (t>.  1.)  The  Lord 
will  have  mercy  on  Jacob,  the  seed  of  Jacob  now 
captives  in  Babylon;  he  will  make  it  to  appear  that 
ne  has  compassion  on  them,  and  has  mercy  in  store 
for  them,  and  that  he  will  not  contend  for  ever  with' 
them,  but  will  yet  choose  them,  will  yet  again  re¬ 
turn  to  them,  though  he  had  seemed  for  a  time  to 
refuse  and  reject  them;  he  will  show  that  they  are 
his  chosen  people,  and  that  the  election  stands  sure. 
However  it  may  seem  to  us,  God’s  mercy  is  not 
gone,  nor  does  his  promise  fail,  Ps.  lxxvii.  8. 

II.  The  particular  favours  he  designed  them. 

1.  He  would  bring  them  back  to  their  native  soil 
and  air  again;  The  Lord  will  set  them  in  their  own 
land,  out  of  which  they  were  driven.  A  settlement 
in  the  Holy  Land,  the  Land  of  Promise,  is  a  fruit  of 
God’s  mercy,  distinguishing  mercy. 

2.  Many  should  be  proselyted  to  their  holy  reli¬ 
gion,  and  should  return  with  them,  induced  to  do  so 


by  the  manifest  tokens  of  God’s  favourable  presence 
with  them,  the  operations  of  God’s  grace  in  them, 
and  his  providence  for  them;  Strangers  shall  bt 
joined  with  them,  saying,  We  will  go  with  you,  for 
we  have  heard  that  God  is  with  you,  Zech.  viii.  23. 
It  adds  much  to  the  honour  and  strength  of  Israel, 
when  strangers  are  joined  with  them,  and  there  are 
added  to  the  church  many  from  without,  Acts  ii. 
47.  Let  not  the  church’s  children  be  shy  of  stran¬ 
gers,  but  receive  those  whom  God  receives,  and 
own  those  who  cleave  to  the  house  of  Jacob. 

3.  These  proselytes  should  not  only  be  a  credit  to 
their  cause,  but  very  helpful  and  serviceable  to 
them  in  their  return  home;  the  people  among  whom 
they  live  shall  take  them,  take  care  of  them,  take 
pity  on  them,  and  shall  bring  them  to  their  place, 
as  friends,  loath  to  part  with  such  good  company, 
as  servants,  willing  to  do  them  all  the  good  offices 
they  could.  God’s  people,  wherever  their  lot  is 
cast,  should  endeavour  thus,  by  all  the  instances  of 
an  exemplary  and  winning  conversation,  to  gain  an 
interest  in  the  affections  of  those  about  them,  and 
recommend  religion  to  their  good  opinion.  This 
was  fulfilled  in  the  return  of  the  captives  from 
Babylon,  when  all  that  were  about  them,  pursuant 
to  Cyrus’s  proclamation,  contributed  to  their  re¬ 
move,  (Ezra  i.  4,  6.)  not,  as  the  Egyptians,  be¬ 
cause  they  were  sick  of  them,  but  because  they 
loved  them. 

4.  They  should  have  the  benefit  of  their  service 
when  they  were  returned  home,  for  many  would  of 
choice  go  with  them  in  the  meanest  post,  rather 
than  not  go  with  them;  They  shall  possess  them  in 
the  land  of  the  Lord,  for  servants  and  handmaids; 
and  as  the  laws  of  that  land  saved  it  from  being  the 
purgatory  of  servants,  providing  that  they  should 
not  be  oppressed,  so  the  advantages  of  that  land 
made  it  the  paradise  of  those  servants  that  had  been 
strangers  to  the  covenants  of  promise,  for  there  was 
one  law  to  the  stranger,  and  to  them  that  were  born 
in  the  land.  They  whose  lot  is  cast  in  the  land  of 
the  Lord,  a  land  of  light,  should  take  care  that  then 
servants  and  handmaids  may  share  in  the  benefit  of 
it;  who  will  then  find  it  better  to  be  possessed  in 
the  Lord’s  land,  than  possessors  in  any  other. 

5.  They  should  triumph  over  their  enemies;  and 
they  that  would  not  be  reconciled  to  them,  should 
be  reduced  and  humbled  by  them;  They  shall  takt 
them  cafitives,  whose  captives  they  were,  and  shall 
rule  over  their  oppressors,  righteously,  but  not  re¬ 
vengefully.  The  Jews  perhaps  bought  Babylonian 
prisoners  out  of  the  hands  of  the  Medes  and  Per¬ 
sians,  and  made  slaves  of  them:  or  this  might  have 
its  accomplishment  in  the  victories  over  their  ene¬ 
mies  in  the  times  of  the  Maccabees.  It  is  applica¬ 
ble  to  the  success  of  the  gospel,  when  those  were 
brought  into  obedience  to  it,  who  had  made  the 
greatest  opposition  to  it,  as  Paul;  it  is  applicable 
also  to  the  interest  believers  have  in  Christ’s  victo¬ 
ries  over  our  spiritual  enemies,  when  he  led  cap¬ 
tivity  captive,  to  the  power  they  gain  over  their 
own  corruptions,  and  to  the  dominion  the  upright 
shall  have  in  the  morning,  Ps.  xlix.  14. 

6.  They  should  see  a  happy  period  of  all  their 
grievances;  (u.  3.)  The  Lord  shall  give  thee  rest 
from  thy  sorrow,  and  thy  fear,  and  from  the  hard 
bondage.  God  himself  undertakes  to  work  a  bless¬ 
ed  change;  (1.)  In  their  state;  they  shall  have  rest 
from  their  bondage;  the  days  of  their  affliction, 
though  many,  shall  have  an  end;  and  the  rod  of  the 
wicked,  though  it  lie  long,  shall  not  always  lie,  c r 
their  lot.  (2.)  In  their  spirit;  they  shall  have  rest 
from  their  sorrow  and  fear,  sense  of  their  present 
burthens,  and  dread  of  worse.  Sometimes  fear  puts 
the  soul  into  a  ferment  as  much  as  sorrow  does,  and 
those  must  needs  feel  themselves  very  easy,  to  whom 
God  has  given  rest  from  both.  They  who  are  freed 


'7 


ISAIAH,  XIV. 


fr  m  the  bondage  of  sin,  have  a  foundation  laid  for  . 
true  rest  from  sorrow  and  fear. 

4.  That  thou  slialt  take  up  this  proverb 
against  the  king  of  Babylon,  and  say,  How 
hath  die  oppressor  ceased!  the  golden  city 
ceased!  5.  The  Lord  hath  broken  the  staff 
of  die  wicked,  and  the  sceptre  of  the  rulers. 
G.  1  le  who  smote  the  people  in  wrath  with 
a  continual  stroke,  he  that  ruled  the  nations 
in  anger,  is  persecuted,  and  none  hindereth. 
7.  Tne  whole  earth  is  at  rest,  and  is  quiet : 
they  break  forth  into  singing.  8.  Yea,  the 
rir-trees  rejoice  at  thee,  and  the  cedars  of 
Lebanon,  saying ,  Since  thou  art  laid  down, 
no  feller  is  come  up  against  us.  9.  Hell 
from  beneath  is  moved  lor  thee  to  meet  thee 
at  thy  coming:  it  stirreth  up  the  dead  for 
thee,  even  all  the  chief  ones  of  the  earth;  it 
hath  raised  up  from  their  thrones  all  the 
kings  of  the  nations.  10.  All  they  shall 
speak,  and  say  unto  thee,  Art  thou  also  be¬ 
come  weak  as  we  ?  art  thou  become  like 
unto  us  1  11.  Thy  pomp  is  brought  down 
to  the  grave,  and  the  noise  of  thy  viols :  the 
worm  is  spread  under  thee,  and  the  worms 
cover  thee.  12.  How  art  thou  fallen  from 
heaven,  O  Lucifer,  son  of  the  morning!  how 
art  thou  cut  down  to  the  ground,  which 
didst  weaken  the  nations!  13.  For  thou 
hast  said  in  thy  heart,  I  will  ascend  into 
heaven,  I  will  exalt  my  throne  above  the 
stars  of  God ;  I  will  sit  also  upon  the  mount 
of  the  congregation,  in  the  sides  of  the  north : 

3  4.  I  will  ascend  above  the  heights  of  the 
clouds;  I  will  be  like  the  Most  High.  15.  Yet 
thou  shalt  be  brought  down  to  hell,  to  the 
sides  of  the  pit.  1 6.  They  that  see  thee  shall 
narrowly  look  upon  thee,  and  consider  thee, 
saying.  Is  this  the  man  that  made  the  earth 
to  tremble,  that  did  shake  kingdoms;  17. 
Thai  made  the  world  as  a  wilderness,  and 
destroyed  the  cities  thereof ;  that  opened  not 
the  house  of  his  prisoners  ?  1 8.  All  the  kings 
of  the  nations,  even  all  of  them,  lie  in  glory, 
every  one  in  his  own  house :  19.  But  thou 
art  cast  out  of  thy  grave  like  an  abominable 
branch,  and  as  the  raiment  of  those  that  are 
slain,  thrust  through  with  a  sword,  that  go 
down  to  the  stones  of  the  pit ;  as  a  carcase 
trodden  under  feet.  20.  Thou  shalt  not  be 
joined  with  them  in  burial,  because  thou 
hast  destroyed  thy  land,  and  slain  thy  peo¬ 
ple  :  the  seed  of  evil-doers  shall  never  be 
renowned.  21.  Prepare  slaughter  for  his 
children,  for  the  iniquity  of  their  fathers;  that 
they  do  not  rise,  nor  possess  the  land,  nor 
fill  the  face  of  the  world  with  cities.  22. 
For  I  will  rise  up  against  them,  saith  the 
Lord  of  hosts,  and  cut  off  from  Babylon  the 
name,  and  remnant,  and  son,  and  nephew, 


saith  the  Lord.  23.  I  will  also  make  it  a 
possession  for  the  bittern,  and  pools  of  wa¬ 
ter  :  and  I  will  sweep  it  with  the  besom  ol 
destruction,  saith  the  Lord  of  hosts. 

The  kings  of  Babylon,  successively,  were  the 
great  enemies  and  oppressors  of  God’s  people,  and 
therefore  the  destruction  of  Babylon,  the  fall  of  the 
king,  and  the  ruin  of  his  family,  arc  here  particu¬ 
larly  taken  notice  of  and  triumphed  in;  in  the  day 
that  God  has  given  Israel  rest,  they  shall  take  up 
this  proverb  against  the  king  of  Babylon.  We 
must  not  rejoice  when  our  enemy  falls,  as  ours;  but 
when  Babylon,  the  common  enemy  of  God  and  his 
Israel,  sinks,  then  rejoice  over  her ,  thou  heaven , 
and  ye  holy  apostles  and  prophets,  Rev.  xviii.  20. 
The  Babylonian  monarchy  bade  fair  to  be  an  abso¬ 
lute,  universal,  and  perpetual  one,  and,  in  these 
pretensions,  t  ied  with  the  Almighty;  it  is  therefore 
very  justly,  not  only  brought  down,  but  insulted 
over  when  it  is  down;  and  it  is  not  only  the  last  mo¬ 
narch,  Belshazzar,  who  was  slain  on  that  night  that 
Babylon  was  taken,  (Dan.  v.  30.)  who  is  here  tri¬ 
umphed  over,  but  the  whole  monarchy,  which  sunk 
in  him;  not  without  special  reference  to  Nebu¬ 
chadnezzar,  in  whom  that  monarchy  was  at  its 
height.  Now  here, 

I.  The  fall  of  the  king  of  Babylon  is  rejoiced  in; 
and  a  most  curious,  elegant  composition  is  li  re 
prepared,  not  to  adorn  his  hearse  or  monument,  but 
to  expose  his  memory,  and  fix  a  lasting  brand  of  in¬ 
famy  upon  it.  It  gives  us  an  account  of  the  life  and 
death  of  this  mighty  monarch,  how  he  7 vent  down 
slain  to  the  pit,  though  he  had  been  the  terror  of  the 
mighty  in  the  land  of  the  living,  Ezek.  xxxii.  27. 

In  this  parable  we  may  observe, 

1.  The  prodigious  height  of  wealth  and  prwer  at 
which  this  monarch  and  monarchy  arrived.  Baby¬ 
lon  was  a  golden  city,  (v.  4.)  It  is  a  Chaldee  word 
in  the  original,  which  intimates  that  she  used  to  call 
herself  so;  she  abounded  in  riches,  and  excelh  d  all 
other  cities,  as  gold  does  all  other  metals.  She  is 
gold-thirsty,  or  an  exactress  of  gold;  so  some  re;  d 
it;  for  how  do  men  get  wealth  to  themselves,  but  In- 
squeezing  it  out  of  others?  The  New  Jems;  km  is 
the  only  truly  golden  city.  Rev.  xxi.  18,  21.  The 
king  of  Babylon,  having  so  much  wealth  in  his  do¬ 
minions,  and  the  absolute  command  of  it,  by  the 
help  of  that  ruled  the  nations,  (y.  6.)  gave  them 
law,  read  them  their  doom,  and,  at  his  pleasun . 
weakened  the  nations,  (i>.  12.)  that  they  might  it  t 
be  able  to  make  head  against  him.  Such  vast  vic¬ 
torious  armies  did  he  bring  into  the  field,  th;  t, 
which  way  soever  he  looked,  he  made  the  earth  to 
tremble,  and  shook  kingdoms;  (v.  16.)  all  his  neigh¬ 
bours  were  afraid  of  him,  and  were  forced  to  sub¬ 
mit  to  him.  No  one  man  could  do  this  by  his  <  wn 

ersonal  strength,  but  by  the  numbers  he  has  at  his 
eck.  Great  tyrants,  by  making  seme  do  what 
they  will,  make  others  suffer  what  they  will.  How 
piteous  is  the  case  of  mankind,  which  thus  seems  to 
be  in  a  combination  against  itself,  and  its  own  rights 
and  liberties,  which  could  not  be  mined  but  by  its 
own  strength. 

2.  The  wretched  abuse  of  all  this  wealth  and 
power,  which  the  king  of  Babylrn  was  guilty  of,  in 
two' instances: 

(1.)  Great  oppression  and  cmelty;  he  is  known 
by  the  name  of  the  oppressor,  (n.  4.)  he  has  the 
sceptre  of  the  rulers,  (v.  5.)  has  the  command  of  all 
the  princes  about  him ;  but  it  is  the  staff  of  the  wick¬ 
ed,  a  staff  with  which  he  supports  himself  in  his 
wickedness,  and  wickedly  strikes  all  about  him; 
He  smote  the  people,  not  in  justice,  for  their  coi 
rection  and  reformation,  but  in  wrath,  (v.  6.)  to 
gratify  his  own  peevish  resentments,  and  that  with 
a  continual  stroke,  pursued  them  with  his  forces, 


”8 


ISAIAH,  XIV. 


and  gave  them  no  respite,  no  breathing  time,  no 
cessation  of  arms.  He  ruled  the  nations,  but  he 
ruled  them  in  anger,  every  thing  he  said  and  did 
was  in  passi.  n;  so  that  he  who  had  the  government 
of  all  about  him,  had  no  government  of  himself;  he 
made  the  world  as  a  wilderness,  as  if  he  had  taken 
a  pride  in  being  the  plague  of  his  generation,  and 
a  curse  to  mankind,  (x>.  17.)  Great  princes  used  to 
glory  in  building  cities,  but  he  gloried  in  destroying 
them;  see  Ps.  ix.  6. 

Two  particular  instances  are  here  given  of  his  ty¬ 
ranny,  worse  than  all  the  rest  :  [1.]  That  he  was 
severe  to  his  captives;  (v.  17.)  He  opened  not  the 
house  of  his  prisoners;  he  did  not  let  them  loose 
homeward;  so  the  margin  reads  it;  he  kept  them  in 
close  confinement,  and  never  would  suffer  any  to  re¬ 
turn  to  their  own  land.  This  refers  especially  to 
the  people  of  the  Jews,  and  it  is  that  which  fills  up 
the  measure  of  the  king  of  Babylon’s  iniquity,  that 
he  had  detained  the  people  of  God  in  captiv  ity,  and 
would  by  no  means  release  them;  nay,  and  by  pro¬ 
faning  the  vessels  of  God’s  temple  at  Jerusalem,  did, 
in  effect,  say  that  they  should  never  return  to  their 
former  use,  Dan.  v.  2,  3.  For  this  he  was  quickly 
and  justly  turned  out  by  one,  whose  first  act  was  to 
open  the  house  of  God’s  prisoners,  and  send  home 
the  temple-vessels.  [2.]  That  he  was  oppressive 
to  his  own  subjects;  (v.  20. )  Thou  hast  destroyed 
thy  land,  and  slain  thy  people;  and  what  did  he  get 
by  that,  when  the  wealth  of  the  land,  and  the  mul¬ 
titude  of  the  people  are  the  strength  and  honour  of 
the  prince,  who  never  rules  so  safely,  so  gloriously, 
as  in  the  hearts  and  affections  of  the  people?  Butty- 
rants  sacrifice  their  interests  to  their  lusts  and  pas¬ 
sions;  and  God  will  reckon  with  them  for  their  bar¬ 
barous  usage  of  those  who  are  under  their  power, 
whom  they  think  they  may  use  as  they  please. 

(2.)  Great  pride  and  haughtiness;  notice  is  here 
taken  of  his  pomp,  the  extravagancy  of  his  retinue; 
(n.Tl.)  he  affected  to  appear  in  the  utmost  magni¬ 
ficence;  but  that  was  not  the  worst,  it  was  the  tem¬ 
per  of  his  mind,  and  the  elevation  of  that,  that 
ripened  him  for  ruin;  (k.  13,  14.)  Thou  hast  said 
in  thy  heart,  like  Lucifer,  I  will  ascend  into  heaven. 
Here  is  the  language  of  his  vainglory,  borrowed 
perhaps  from  that  of  the  angels  who  fell,  who,  not 
content  with  their  first  estate,  the  post  assigned 
them,  would  vie  with  God,  and  become  not  only  in¬ 
dependent  on  him,  but  equal  with  him :  or  perhaps 
it  refers  to  the  story  of  Nebuchadnezzar,  who,  when 
he  would  be  more  than  a  man,  was  justly  turned 
into  a  brute,  Dan.  iv.  30.  The  king  of  Babylon 
here  promises  himself,  [1.]  That  in  pomp  and  pow¬ 
er  he  shall  exceed  all  his  neighbours,  and  shall  ar¬ 
rive  at  the  very  height  of  earthly  glory  and  felicity; 
that  he  shall  be  as  great  and  happy  as  this  world 
can  make  him;  that  is  the  heaven  ot  a  carnal  heart, 
and  to  that  he  hopes  to  ascend,  and  to  be  as  far 
above  those  about  him,  as  the  heaven  is  above  the 
earth.  Princes  are  the  stars  of  God,  which  give 
some  light  to  this  dark  world;  (Matth.  xxiv.  29.) 
but  he  will  exalt  his  throne  above  them  all.  [2.] 
That  he  shall  particularly  insult  over  God’s  mount 
Zion,  which  Belshazzar,  in  his  last  drunken  frolic, 
seemed  to  have  had  a  particular  spite  against,  when 
he  called  for  the  vessels  of  the  temple  at  Jerusalem, 
to  profane  them;  see  Dan.  v.  2.  In  the  same  hu¬ 
mour,  he  here  said,  I  will  sit  upoti  the  mount  of  the 
congregation,  (it  is  the  same  word  that  is  used  for 
the  holy  convocations,)  in  the  sides  of  the  north;  so 
Mount  Zion  is  said  to  be  situated,'  Ps.  xlviii.  2. 
Perhaps  Belshazzar  was  projecting  an  expedition  to 
Jerusalem  to  triumph  in  the  ruins  of  it,  then  when 
God  cut  him  off.  [3.]  That  he  will  vie  with  the 
God  of  Israel,  of  whom  he  had  indeed  heard  glo¬ 
rious  things,  that  he  had  his  residence  above  the 
height  of  the  clouds;  “  But  thither,”  says  he,  “will 


I  ascend,  and  be  as  great  as  he;  1  will  be  like  him 
whom  they  call  the  Most  High."  It  is  a  gracious 
ambition  to  covet  to  be  like  the  Most  Holy,  for  he 
has  said,  Be  ye  holy,  for  l  am  holy;  but  it  is  a  sin¬ 
ful  ambition  to  aim  to  be  like  the  Most  High,  for  he 
has  said,  He  who  exalts  himself  shall  be  abased; 
and  the  devil  drew  our  first  parents  in  to  eat  forbid- 
den  fruit,  by  premising  them  that  they  slu  uld  be 
as  gods.  [4.]  That  he  shall  himself  be  deified  af¬ 
ter  his  death,  as  some  of  the  first  founders  of  the 
Assyrian  monarchy  were,  and  stars  had  even  their 
names  from  them,  “  But,”  (says  he)  “  I  will  exalt 
my  throne  above  them  all.”  Such  as  this  was  his 
pride,  which  was  the  undoubted  omen  of  his  de¬ 
struction. 

3.  The  utter  ruin  that  should  be  brought  upon 
him: 

(1.)  It  is  foretold  that  his  wealth  and  power 
should  be  broken,  and  a  final  period  put  to  his  pomp 
and  pleasure;  he  has  been  long  an  oppressor,  but  he 
shall  cease  to  be  so,  v.  4.  Had  he  ceased  to  be  so 
by  true  repentance  and  reformation,  according  to 
the  advice  Daniel  gave  to  Nebuchadnezzar,  it  might 
have  been  a  lengthening  of  his  life  and  tranquillity. 
But  those  that  will  not  cease  to  sin,  God  will  make 
to  cease.  The  golden  city,  which,  one  would  have 
thought,  might  have  continued  for  ever,  is  ceased; 
there  is  an  end  of  that  Babylon.  The  Lord,  the 
righteous  God,  has  broken  the  staff  of  that  wicked 
prince,  broken  it  over  his  head,  in  token  of  the  di¬ 
vesting  him  of  his  office.  God  has  taken  his  power 
from  him,  and  disabled  him  to  do  any  more  mis¬ 
chief:  he  has  broken  the  sceptres;  for  even  those 
are  brittle  things,  soon  broken,  and  often  justly. 

(2.)  That  he  himself  should  be  seized;  He  is  per¬ 
secuted;  (y.  6.)  violent  hands  are  laid  upon  him,  and 
none  hinders.  It  is  the  common  fate  of  tyrants, 
when  they  fall  into  the  power  of  their  enemies,  to 
be  deserted  by  their  flatterers,  whom  they  took  for 
their  friends.  We  read  of  another  enemy  like  this 
here,  of  whom  it  is  foretold  that  he  shall  come  to  his 
end,  and  none  shall  help  him,  Dan.  xi.  45.  Tiberius 
and  Nero  thus  saw  themselves  abandoned. 

(3.)  That  he  should  be  slain,  undg’o  down  to  the 
congregation  of  the  dead,  to  be  free  among  them,  as 
the  slain  that  arena  more  remembered,  Ps.  lxxxviii. 
5.  He  shall  be  weak  as  the  dead  are,  and  like  unto 
them,  v.  10.  His  pomp  is  brought  down  to  the  grave, 
it  perishes  with  him  ;  the  pomp  of  his  life  shall  not, 
as  usual,  end  in  a  funeral  pomp.  True  glory,  that 
is,  true  grace,  will  go  up  with  the  soul  to  heaven, 
but  vain  pomp  will  go  down  with  the  body  to  the 
grave,  there  is  an  end  of  it.  The  noise  of  his  viols 
is  now  heard  no  more;  death  is  a  farewell  to  the 
pleasures,  as  well  as  to  the  pomps  of  this  world. 
This  mighty  prince,  that  used  to  lie  on  a  bed  of 
down,  and  tread  upon  rich  carpets,  and  to  have  co¬ 
verings  and  canopies  exquisitely  fine,  now  shall  have 
the  worms  spread  under  him,  and  the  worms  cover¬ 
ing  him,  (v.  11.)  worms  bred  out  of  his  own  putre¬ 
fied  body,  which,  though  he  fancied  himself  a  god, 
proved  him  to  be  made  of  the  same  mould  with 
other  men.  When  we  are  pampering  and  decking 
our  bodies,  it  is  good  to  remember  they  will  be 
worms’  meat  shortly. 

(4. )  That  he  should  not  have  the  honour  of  a  bu¬ 
rial,  much  less  of  a  decent  one,  and  in  the  sepulchres 
of  his  ancestors;  The  kings  of  the  nations  lie  in  glo¬ 
ry;  {v.  18.)  either  the  dead  bodies  themselves,  so 
embalmed  as  to  be  preserved  from  putrefaction,  as 
of  old  among  the  Egyptians;  or  their  effigies  (as 
with  us)  erected  over  their  graves.  Thus,  as  if  they 
would  defy  the  ignominy  cf  death,  they  lay  in  a 
poor,  faint  sort  of  glory,  every  one  in  his  own  house, 
his  own  burving-place;  for  the  grave  is  the  house 
appointed  for  all  living,  a  sleeping-house,  where  the 
busy  and  troublesome  will  lie  quiet,  and  the  treu 


73 


ISAIAH,  XIV. 


Died  and  weary  lie  at  rest.  Bat  this  king  of  Baby¬ 
lon  is  east  out,  and  has  no  grave;  (n.  19.)  his  dead 
body  is  thrown,  like  that  of  a  beast,  into  the  next 
ditch,  or  upon  the  next  dunghill,  like  an  abomina¬ 
ble  branch  of  some  noxious,  poisonous  plant,  which 
nobody  will  touch;  or  as  the  clothes  of  malefactors 
put  to  death,  and  by  the  hand  of  justice  thrust 
through  with  a  sword,  on  whose  dead  bodies  heaps 
of  stones  are  raised,  or  they  are  thrown  into  some 
deep  quarry,  among  the  stones  of  the  pit.  Nay,  the 
king  ot  Babylon’s  dead  body  shall  be  as  the  carcases 
of  those  who  are  slain  in  a  battle,  who  are  trodden 
under  feet  by  the  horses  and  soldiers,  and  crushed 
to  pieces:  thus  he  shall  not  be  joined  with  his  ances- 
ters  in  burial,  v.  20.  To  be  denied  decent  burial 
is  a  disgrace,  which,  if  it  be  inflicted  for  righteous¬ 
ness-sake  (asPs.  lxix.  2.)  may,  as  other  similar  re¬ 
proaches,  be  rejoiced  in;  (Matth.  v.  12.)  it  is  the  lot 
of  the  two  witnesses,  Rev.  xi.  9.  But  if,  as  here,  it 
be  the  just  punishment  of  iniquity,  it  is  an  intima¬ 
tion  that  evil  pursues  impenitent  sinners  beyond 
death,  greater  evil  than  that,  and  that  they  shall 
vise  to  everlasting  shame  and  contemfit. 

4.  The  many  triumphs  that  should  be  in  his  fall. 

(1.)  Those  whom  he  had  been  a  great  tyrant 
and  terror  to,  will  be  glad  that  they  are  rid  of  him; 
( v .  7,  8.)  Now  that  he  is  gone,  the  whole  earth  is 
at  rest,  and  is  quiet,  for  he  was  the  great  disturber 
of  the  peace;  now  they  all  break  forth  into  singing, 
i  ir  when  the  wicked  perish,  there  is  shouting;  (rrov. 
xi.  10.)  the  fir-trees  and  cedars  of  Lebanon  now 
think  themselves  safe,  there  is  no  danger  now  of 
their  being  cut  down,  to  make  way  for  his  vast  ar¬ 
mies,  or  to  furnish  him  with  timber.  The  neigh¬ 
bouring  princes,  and  great  men,  who  are  compared 
to  fir-trees  and  cedars,  (Zech.  xi.  2.)  may  now  be 
easy,  and  out  of  fear  of  being  dispossessed  of  their 
rights,  for  the  hammer  of  the  whole  earth  is  cut 
asunder  and  broken,  (Jer.  1.  23.)  the  axe  that  boast¬ 
ed  itself  against  him  that  hewed  with  it,  ch.  x.  15. 

(2.)  The  congregation  of  the  dead  will  bid  him 
welcome  to  them,  especially  those  whom  he  had 
barbarously  hastened  thither;  (v.  9,  10.)  “  Hell 
from  beneath  is  moved  for  thee,  to  meet  thee  at  thy 
coming,  and  to  compliment  thee  upon  thy  arrival  at 
their  dark  and  dreadful  regions.  ”  The  chief  ones 
of  the  earth,  who,  when  they  were  alive,  were  kept 
in  awe  by  him,  and  durst  not  come  near  him,  but 
rose  from  their  thrones,  to  resign  them  to  him,  these 
shall  upbraid  him  with  it;  when  he  comes  into  the 
state  of  the  dead,  they  shall  go  forth  to  meet  him, 
as  they  used  to  do  when  he  made  his  public  entry 
into  cities  he  was  become  master  of;  with  such  a 
parade  shall  he  be  introduced  into  those  regions  of 
horror,  to  make  his  disgrace  and  torment  the  more 
grievous  to  him.  They  shall  scoffingly  rise  from 
their  thrones  and  seats  there,  and  ask  him  if  he  will 
please  to  sit  down  in  them,  as  he  used  to  do  in  their 
thrones  on  earth?  The  confusion  that  will  then  cover 
him  they  shall  make  a  jest  of;  “  Art  thou  also  be¬ 
come  weak  as  we?  Who  would  have  thought  it?  It 
is  what  thou  thyself  didst  not  expect  it  would  ever 
come  to,  when  thou  wast  in  every  thing  too  hard  for 
us.  Thou  that  didst  rank  thyself  among  the  im¬ 
mortal  gods,  art  thou  come  to  take  thy  fate  among 
us  poor  mortal  men?  Where  is  thy  pomp  now,  and 
where  thy  mirth?  How  art  thou  fallen  from  heaven, 
Q  Lucifer,  son  of  the  morning,"  v.  11,  12.  The 
king  of  B  ibylon  has  shone  as  bright  as  the  morning- 
star,  and  fancied  that,  wherever  he  came,  he 
Drought  day  along  with  him;  and  is  such  an  illus¬ 
trious  prince  as  this  fallen,  such  a  star  become  a  clod 
of  clay?  Did  ever  any  man  fall  from  such  a  height 
of  honour  and  power  into  such  an  abyss  of  shame 
and  misery?  This  has  been  commonly  alluded  to, 
(and  it  is  a  mere  allusion,)  to  illustrate  the  fall  of 
the  angels,  who  were  as  morning-stars,  Job  xxxviii. 


7.  But  hot u  arc  they  fallen!  How  art  thou  cut 
down  to  the  ground,  and  levelled  with  it,  that  didst 
weaken  the  nations!  God  will  reckon  with  these 
that  invade  the  rights,  and  disturb  the  peace,  of 
mankind,  for  he  is  King  of  nations  as  well  as  saints. 

Now  this  reception  of  the-  king  of  Babylon  into 
the  regions  of  the  dead,  which  is  here  described, 
surely  is  something  more  than,  a  flight  of  fancy,  and 
is  designed  to  speak  these  solid  truths:  [1.]  That 
there  is  an  invisible  world,  a  world  of  spirits,  to 
which  the  souls  of  men  remove  at  death,  and  in 
which  they  exist  and  act  in  a  state  of  separation 
from  the  body.  [2.]  That  separate  souls  have  ac¬ 
quaintance  and  converse  with  each  other,  though 
we  have  none  with  them;  the  parable  of  the  rich 
man  and  Lazarus  intimates  this.  [3.]  That  death 
and  hell  will  be  death  and  hell  indeed  to  those  that 
fall  unsanctified  from  the  height  of  this  world’s 
pomps,  and  the  fulness  of  its  pleasures:  Hon,  re¬ 
member,  Luke  xvi.  25. 

(3.)  Spectators  will  stand  amazed  at  his, fall. 
When  he  shall  be  brought  down  to  hi  U,  to  the  sides 
of  the  pit,  and  to  be  lodged  there,  (n.  15.)  they  that 
see  him  shall  narrowly  look  upon  hint,  and  consider 
him,  they  shall  scarcely  believe  their  own  eyes; 
never  was  death  so  great  a  change  to  any  man  as  it 
is  to  him.  Is  it  possible  that  a  man  who  a  few 
hours  ago  looked  so  great,  so  pleasant,  and  was  so 
splendidly  adorned  and  attended,  should  now  look 
so  ghastly,  so  despicable,  and  lie  thus  naked  and 
neglected?  Is  this  the  man  that  made  the  earth  to 
tremble,  and  shook  kingdoms?  Who  would  have 
thought  he  should  ever  have  come  to  this?  Psalm 
lxxxii.  7. 

Lastly,  Here  is  an  inference  drawn  from  all 
this;  (d.  20.)  The  seed  of  evil-doers  shall  never 
be  renowned.  The  princes  of  the  Babylonian  mo¬ 
narch  were  all  a  seed  of  evil-doers,  oppressors  of 
the  people  of  God,  and  therefore  they  had  this  in¬ 
famy  entailed  upon  them.  They  shall  not  be  re¬ 
nowned  forever;  so  some  read  it;  they  may  look 
big  for  a  time,  but  all  their  pomp  will  only  render 
their  disgrace  at  last  the  more  shameful  ;  there  is  no 
credit  in  a  sinful  way. 

II.  The  utter  ruin  of  the  royal  family  is  here  fore¬ 
told,  together  with  the  desolation  of  the  royal  city. 

1.  The  royal  family  is  to  be  wholly  extirpated. 
The  Medes  and  Persians  that  are  to  be  employed 
in  this  destroying  work,  are  ordered,  when  they 
have  slain  Belshazzar,  to  prepare  slaughter  for  his 
children,  (y.  21.)  and  not  to  spare  them;  the  little 
ones  of  Babylon  must  be  dashed  against  the  stones, 
Ps.  cxxxvii.  9.  These  orders  sound  very  harsh; 
but,  (1.)  They  must  suffer  for  the  iniquity  of  their 
fathers,  which  is  often  visited  upon  the  children,  to 
show  how  much  God  hates  sin,  and  is  displeased  at 
it,  and  to  deter  sinners  from  it,  which  is  the  end  of 
punishment.  Nebuchadnezzar  had  slain  Zedekiah’s 
sons,  (Jer.  lii.  10.)  and  for  that  iniquity  of  his,  his 
seed  are  paid  in  the  same  coin.  (2.)  They  must 
be  cut  off  now,  that  they  may  not  rise  up  to  possess 
the  land,  and  do  as  much  mischief  in  their  day 
as  their  fathers  had  done  in  theirs;  that  they  may 
not  be  as  vexatious  to  the  world  by  building  cities 
for  the  support  of  their  tyranny,  (which  was  Nim¬ 
rod’s  policy,  Gen.  x.  11.)  as  their  ancestors  had 
been  by  destroying  cities.  Pharaoh  oppressed  Israel 
in  Egypt  by 'setting  them  to  build  cities,  Exod.  i.  11. 
The  providence  of  God  consults  the  welfare  of  na¬ 
tions  more  th  in  we  are  aware  of,  by  cutting  iff 
some  who,  if  they  had  lived,  would  have  done  mis¬ 
chief.  Justly  may  the  enemies  cut  <  ff  the  children; 
Tor  I  will  rise  up  against  them,  saith  the  I.ord  of 
hosts,  v.  22.  And  if  God  reveal  it  as  his  mind  that 
he  will  have  it  done,  as  none  can  hinder  it.  so  none 
need  scruple  to  further  it.  Babvlon  perhaps  was 
proud  of  the  numbers  of  her  royal  family,  but  God 


80 


ISAIAH,  XIV. 


had  determined  to  cut  off  the  name  ana  remnant  of 
it,  so  that  none  should  be  left,  to  have  both  the  sons 
and  grandsons  of  the  king  slain;  and  yet  we  are  sure 
he  never  did,  nor  ever  will  do,  any  wrong  to  any 
of  his  creatures. 

2.  The  royal  city  is  to  be  demolished  and  desert¬ 
ed,  v.  23.  It  shall  be  a  possession  for  solitary  fright¬ 
ful  birds,  particularly  the  bittern,  joined  with  the 
cormorant  and  the  owl,  ch.  xxxiv.  11.  And  thus 
the  utter  destruction  of  the  New  Testament  Baby¬ 
lon  is  illustrated,  (Rev.  xviii.  2.)  it  is  become  a  cage 
of  every  unclean  and  hateful  bird.  Babylon  lay 
low,  so  that  when  it  was  deserted,  and  no  care  taken 
to  drain  the  land,  it  soon  became  pools  of  water, 
standing  puddles,  as  unhealthful  as  unpleasant:  and 
thus  God  will  sweep  it  with  the  besom  of  destruction. 
When  a  people  have  nothing  among  them  but  dirt 
and  filth,  and  will  not  be  made  clean  with  the  besom 
of  reformation,  what  can  they  expect  but  to  be 
swept  off  the  face  of  the  earth  with  the  besom  of 
destruction? 

24.  The  Lord  of  hosts  hath  sworn,  say¬ 
ing,  Surely  as  I  have  thought,  so  shall  it 
come  to  pass;  and  as  I  have  purposed,  so 
shall  it  stand;  25.  That  I  will  break  the 
Assyrian  in  my  land,  and  upon  my  moun¬ 
tains  tread  him  under  loot:  then  shall  his 
yoke  depart  from  off  them,  and  his  burden 
depart  from  off  their  shoulders.  26.  This  is 
the  purpose  that  is  purposed  upon  the  whole 
earth;  and  this  is  the  hand  that  is  stretched 
out  upon  all  the  nations.  27.  For  the  Lord 
of  hosts  hath  purposed,  and  who  shall  dis¬ 
annul  it?  and  his  hand  is  stretched  out,  and 
who  shall  turn  it  back  1  28.  In  the  year  that 
king  Ahaz  died,  was  this  burden.  29.  Re- 
ioice  not  thou,  whole  Palestina,  because  the 
rod  of  trim  that  smote  thee  is  broken :  for  out 
of  the  serpent’s  root  shall  come  forth  a 
cockatrice,  and  his  fruit  shall  be  a  fiery  fly¬ 
ing  serpent.  30.  And  the  first-bom  of  the 
poor  shall  feed,  and  the  needy  shall  lie  down 
in  safety :  and  I  will  kill  thy  root  with  famine, 
and  he  shall  slay  thy  remnant.  31.  Howl, 
O  gate;  cry,  O  city:  thou,  whole  Palestina, 
art  dissolved :  for  there  shall  come  from  the 
north  a  smoke,  and  none  shall  be  alone  in 
his  appointed  times.  32.  What  shall  one 
then  answer  the  messengers  of  the  nation  ? 
That  the  Lord  hath  founded  Zion,  and  the 
poor  of  his  people  shall  trust  in  it. 

The  destruction  of  Babylon  and  the  Chaldean 
empire  was  a  thing  at  a  gn  at  distance;  the  empire 
was  not  risen  to  any  considerable  height  when  its 
fall  was  here  foretold:  it  was  almost  200  years  from 
this  prediction  of  Babylon’s  fall  to  the  accomplish¬ 
ment  of  it.  Now  the  people  to  whom  Isaiah  pro¬ 
phesied,  might  ask,  “  What  is  this  to  us,  or  what 
shall  we  be  the  better  for  it,  and  what  assurance 
shall  we  huv<  of  it?”  To  both  which  questions  he 
answers  in  these  verses,  by  a  prediction  of  the  ruin 
both  of  the  Assyrians  and  of  the  Philistines,  the  pre¬ 
sent  enemies  that  infested  them,  which  they  should 
shortly  be  eye-witnesses  of,  and  have  benefit  by. 
These  would  be  a  present  comfort  to  them,  and  a 
pledge  of  future  deliverance,  for  the  confirming  of 
the  faith  of  their  posterity.  God  is  to  his  people 


the  same  to-day  that  he  was  yesterday,  and  will  oe 
hereafter;  and  he  will  for  ever  be  the  same  that  he 
has  been,  and  is.  Here  is, 

1.  Assurance  given  of  tfie  destruction  of  the  As¬ 
syrians;  (x>.  25.)  I  will  break  the  Assyrian  in  my 
land.  Sennacherib  brought  a  very  formidable  army 
into  the  land  of  Judah,  but  there  God  broke  it, 
broke  all  his  regiments  by  the  sword  cf  a  destroying 
angel.  Note,  Those  who  wrongfully  invade  God’s 
land,  shall  find  it  is  at  their  peril,  and  those  who  with 
unhallowed  feet  trample  upon  his  holy  mountains, 
shall  themselves  there  be  trodden  under  foot.  God 
undertakes  to  do  it  himself,  his  people  having  no 
might  against  the  great  company  that  came  against 
them;  “  1  will  break  the  Assyrian;  let  me  alone  to 
doit,  who  have  angels,  hosts  ot  angels  at  command.” 
Now  the  breaking  of  the  power  of  the  Assyrian 
would  be  the  breaking  of  the  yoke  from  off  the  neck 
of  God’s  people.  His  burthen  shall  depart  from  off 
their  shoulders,  the  burthen  of  quartering  that  vast 
army,  and  paying  contribution;  therefore  the  Assy¬ 
rian  must  be  broken,  that  Judah  and  Jerusalem 
may  be  eased.  Let  those  that  make  themselves  a 
yoke  and  a  burthen  to  God’s  people,  see  what  they 
are  to  expect. 

Now,  1.  This  prophecy  is  here  ratified  and  con¬ 
firmed  by  an  oath;  (x>.  24.)  The  Lord  of  hosts  has 
sworn,  that  he  might  show  the  immutability  cf  his 
Counsel,  and  that  his  people  may  have  strong  con¬ 
solation,  Heb.  vi.  17,  18.  What  is  here  said  of  this 
particular  intention,  is  true  of  all  Gcd’s  purposes; 
As  I  hav »  thought,  so  shall  it  come  to  / lass ;  for  he 
is  one  in  mind,  and  who  can  turn  him?  Nor  is  he 
ever  put  upon  new  counsels,  or  obliged  to  take  new 
measures,  as  men  often  are,  when  things  occur 
which  they  did  not  foresee.  Let  those  who  are  the 
called  according  to  God’s  fiur/iose,  comfort  them¬ 
selves  with  this,  that  as  God  has  ftur/tosed,  so  shall 
it  stand,  and  on  that  their  stability  does  depend. 

2.  The  breaking  of  the  Assyrian  power  is  made 
a  specimen  of  what  God  would  do  with  all  the  pow¬ 
ers  of  the  nations  that  were  engaged  against  him  and 
his  church;  (t.  26.)  This  is  the  purpose  that  is  pur¬ 
posed  upon  the  whole  earth,  the  whole  world,  so  the 
LXX;  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  earth,  so  the  Chal¬ 
dee;  not  only  upon  the  Assyrian  empire,  (which 
was  then  reckoned  to  be  in  a  manner  all  the  world, 
as  afterward  the  Roman  empire  was,  (Luke  ii.  1.) 
and  with  it  many  nations  fell,  that  had  dependence 
upon  it,)  but  upon  all  those  states  and  potentates 
that  should  at  any  time  attack  his  land,  his  moun- 
t  uns;  the  fate  of  the  Assyrian  shall  be  theirs,  they 
shall  soon  find  that  they  meddle  to  their  own  hurt. 
Jerusalem,  as  it  was  to  the  Assyrians,  will  be  to  all 
people  a  burthensome  stone;  all  that  burthen  them¬ 
selves  with  it,  shall  infallibly  be  cut  to  pieces  by.  it, 
Zech.  xii.  3,  6.  The  same  hand  of  power  and  jus¬ 
tice  that  is  now  to  be  stretched  out  against  the  As¬ 
syrian  for  invading  the  people  of  God,  shall  be 
stretched  out  upon  all  the  nations  that  do  likewise. 
It  is  still  true,  and  will  be  ever  so,  Cursed  is  he  that 
curses  God’s  Israel,  Num.  xxiv.  9.  God  will  be  an 
Enemy  to  his  people’s  enemies,  Exod.  xxiii.  22. 

3.  All  the  powers  on  earth  are  defied  to  change 
God’s  counsel;  (x).  27.)  “  The  Lord  of  hosts  has 
purposed  to  break  the  Assyrian's  yoke,  and  every 
rod  of  the  wicked  laid  upon  the  lot  of  the  righteous; 
and  who  shall  disannul  this  purpose?  Who  can  per¬ 
suade  him  to  recall  it,  or  find  a  plea  to  evade  it? 
His  hand  is  stretched  out  to  execute  this  purpose; 
and  who  has  power  enough  to  turn  it  back,  or  to 
stay  the  course  of  his  judgments?” 

II.  Assurance  is  likewise  given  of  the  destruction 
of  the  Philistines  and  their  power.  This  burthen, 
this  prophecy,  that  lay  as  a  load  upon  them,  to  sink 
their  state,  came  in  the  year  that  king  Ahaz  died; 
which  was  the  first  year  of  Hezekiali’s  reign; 


81 


ISAIAH,  XV. 


t-v  28. )  when  a  good  king  came  in  the  room  of  a  bad 
one,  then  this  acceptable  message  was  sent  among 
them.  When  we  reform,  then,  and  not  till  then, 
we  may  look  for  good  news  from  heaven.  Now  here 
we  have, 

1.  A  rebuke *to  the  Philistines  for  triumphing  in 
the  death  of  king  Uzziah.  He  had  been  as  a  serpent 
to  them,  had  bitten  them,  had  smitten  them,  had 
brought  them  very  low;  (2  Chron.  xxvi.  6.)  he 
warred  against  the  Philistines ,  broke  down  their 
walls,  and  built  cities  among  them;  but  when  Uz¬ 
ziah  died,  or  rather  abdicated,  it  was  told  with  jov 
in  Gath,  and  f lublished  in  the  streets  of  Askelon.  It 
is  inhuman  thus  to  rejoice  in  our  neighbour’s  fall; 
but  let  them  not  be  secure,  for  though,  when  Uzzi¬ 
ah  was  dead,  they  made  reprisals  upon  Ahaz,  and 
took  many  of  the  cities  of  Judah,  (2  Chron.  xxviii. 
18.)  yet  out  of  the  root  of  Uzziah  should  come  a 
cockatrice,  a  more  formidable  enemy  than  Uzziah 
was,  even  Hezekiali,  the  fruit  of  whose  government 
should  be  to  them  a  fiery  flying  serpent,  for  he 
should  fall  upon  them  with  incredible  swiftness  and 
fury:  we  find  he  did  so;  (2  Kings  xviii.  8.)  He 
smote  the  Philistines  even  to  Gaza.  Note,  If  God 
remove  one  useful  instrument  in  the  midst  of  his 
usefulness,  he  can,  and  will,  raise  up  others  to  carry- 
on  and  complete  the  same  work  that  they  were  em¬ 
ployed  in,  and  left  unfinished. 

2.  A  prophecy  of  the  destruction  of  the  Philis¬ 
tines  by  famine  and  war.  (1.)  By  famine;  (u.  30.) 
when  the  people  of  God,  whom  the  Philistines  had 
wasted,  and  distressed,  and  impoverished,  shall  en- 
jov  plenty  again,  and  the  first-born  of  their  floor 
slum' feed,  (the  poorest  among  them  shall  have  food 
convenient,)  then,  as  for  the  Philistines,  God  will 
kill  their  root  with  famine;  that  which  was  their 
strength,  and  with  which  they  thought  themselves 
established  as  the  tree  is  by  the  root,  shall  be  starved 
and  dried  up  by  degrees,  as  those  die,  that  die  by 
famine;  and  thus  he  shall  slay  the  remnant:  those 
that  escape  from  one  destruction,  are  but  reserved 
for  another;  and  when  there  are  but  a  few  left,  those 
few  shall  at  length  be  cut  off,  for  God  will  make  a  full 
end.  (2.)  By  war;  when  the  needy  of  God’s  people 
shall  lie  down  in  safety,  {v.  30. )  not  terrified  with  the 
alarms  of  war,  but  delighting  in  the  songs  of  peace, 
then  every  gate  and  every  city  of  the  Philistines 
shall  be  howling  and  crying,  (v.  31.)  and  there  shall 
be  a  total  dissolution  of  their  state;  for  from  Judea, 
which  lay  north  of  the  Philistines,  there  shall  come 
a  smoke,  a  vast  army  raising  a  great  dust,  a  smoke 
that  shall  b<-  the  indication  of  a  devouring  fire  at 
hand:  and  none  of  all  that  army  shall  be  alone  in  his 
appointed  times;  none  shall  straggle  or  be  missing 
when  they  are  to  engage;  but  they  shall  be  vigor¬ 
ous  and  unanimous  in  attacking  the  common  ene¬ 
my,  when  the  time  appointed  for  the  doing  of  it 
comes.  None  of  them  shall  decline  the  public  ser¬ 
vice,  as,  in  Deborah’s  time,  Reuben  abode  among 
the  sheepfolds,  and  Asher  on  the  sea-shore,  Judg. 
v.  16,  17.  When  God  has  work  to  do,  he  will  won¬ 
derfully  endow  and  dispose  men  for  it. 

III.  The  good  use  that  should  be  made  of  all 
these  events  for  the  encouragement  of  the  people  of 
God;  (v.  32.)  What  shall  one  then  answer  the  mes¬ 
sengers  of  the  nations?  This  implies,  1.  That  the 
great  things  God  does  for  his  people,  are,  and  can¬ 
not  but  be,  taken  notice  of  by  their  neighbours; 
they  among  the  heathen  make  remarks  upon  them, 
Ps.  cxxvi.  2.  2.  That  messengers  will  be  sent  to 

inquire  concerning  them.  Jacob  and  Israel  had  long 
been  a  people  distinguished  from  all  others,  and 
dignified  with  uncommon  favours;  and  therefore 
some,  for  good-will,  others,  for  ill-will,  and  all,  for 
curiosity,  are  inquisitive  concerning  them.  3.  That 
it  concerns  us  always  to  be  ready  to  give  a  reason 
of  the  hope  that  we  have  in  the  providence  of  God, 

Vol.  iv. — L 


as  well  as  in  his  grace,  in  answer  to  every  one  tho 
asks  it,  with  meekness  and  fear,  1  Pet.  iii.  15.  And 
we  need  go  no  further  than  the  sacred  tinths  of 
God’s  word,  fora  reason;  for  God,  in  all  he  does, 
is  fulfilling  the  scripture.  4.  The  issue  of  God’s 
dealings  with  his  people  shall  be  so  clearly  and  ma 
nifestly  glorious,  that  any  one,  every  one,  shall  be 
able  to  give  an  account  of  them  to  those  that  inquire 
concerning  them.  Now  the  answer  which  is  to  be 
given  to  the  messengers  of  the  nations,  is,  (1.)  That 
God  is,  and  will  be,  a  faithful  Friend  to  his  church 
and  people,  and  will  secure  and  advance  their  in¬ 
terests.  Tell  them  that  the  Lord  has  founded  Zion. 
This  gives  an  account  both  of  the  work  itself  that 
is  done,  and  of  the  reason  of  it.  What  is  Gcd 
doing  in  the  world,  and  what  is  he  designing  in  all 
the  revolutions  of  states  and  kingdoms,  in  the  ruin 
of  some  nations,  and  the  rise  of  others?  He  is,  in  all 
this,  founding  Zion;  he  is  aiming  at  the  advance¬ 
ment  of  his  church’s  interests;  and  what  he  aims  at 
he  will  accomplish.  The  messengers  of  the  nations, 
when  they  sent  to  inquire  concerning  Hezekiah’s 
successes  against  the  Philistines,  expected  to  learn 
by  what  politics,  counsels,  and  arts  of  war,  he  carried 
his  point;  they  are  told  that  they  were  not  owing  to 
any  thing  of  that  nature,  but  to  the  care  God  took  of 
his  church,  and  the  interest  he  had  in  it.  The  Lord 
has  founded  Zion,  and  therefore  the  Philistines  must 
fall.  (2.)  That  his  church  has,  and  will  have,  a  de¬ 
pendence  upon  him;  The  poor  of  his  people  shall 
trust  in  it,  his  poor  pet  pie  who  have  been  brought 
very  low,  even  the  poorest  of  them;  they  more  than 
others,  for  they  have  nothing  else  to  trust  to;  (Zcpli. 
iii.  12,  13.)  the  poor  receive  the  gospel,  Matth.  x\ 
5.  They  shall  trust  to  this,  to  this  great  truth, 
that  the  Lord  has  founded  Zion;  on  this  they  shall 
build  their  hopes,  and  not  on  an  arm  of  flesh.  This 
ought  to  give  us  abundant  satisfaction  as  to  public  af¬ 
fairs,  that,  however  it  goes  with  particular  persons, 
parties,  and  interests,  the  church,  having  God  him¬ 
self  for  its  founder,  and  Christ  the  Rock  for  its 
Foundation,  cannot  but  stand  firm;  The  poor  of  his 
people  shall  betake  themselves  to  it;  so  some  read 
it;  shall  join  themselves  to  his  church,  and  embark 
in  its  interests;  they  shall  concur  with  God  in  his 
designs  to  establish  his  people,  and  shall  wind  up 
all  on  the  same  plan,  and  make  all  their  little  con¬ 
cerns  and  projects  bend  to  that.  They  that  take 
God’s  people  for  their  people,  must  be  willing  to 
take  their  lot  with  them,  and  cast  in  their  lot  among 
them.  Let  the  messengers  of  the  nations  know  that 
the  poor  Israelites,  who  trust  in  God,  having,  like 
Zion,  their  foundation  in  the  holy  mountains,  (Ps. 
lxxxvii.  1.)  are  like  Zion,  which  cannot  be  removed, 
but  abides  for  ever,  (Ps.  exxv.  1.)  and  therefore 
they  will  not  fear  what  man  can  do  unto  them. 

CHAP.  XV. 

This  chapter,  and  that  which  follows  it,  are  the  burthen  of 
Moab;  a  prophecy  of  some  great  desolation  that  was 
coming  upon  that  country,  which  bordered  upon  this 
land  of  Israel,  and  had  ollen  been  injurious  and  vexa¬ 
tious  to  it,  though  the  Moabites  were  descended  from 
Lot,  Abraham’s  kinsman  and  companion,  and  though 
the  Israelites,  by  the  appointment  of  God,  had  spared 
them,  when  they  might  both  easily  and  justly  have  cut 
them  off  with  their  neighbours.  In  this  chapter,  we  have, 
I.  Great  lamentations  made  by  the  Moabites,  and  by  the 
prophet  himself  for  them,  v.  1  .  .5.  II.  The  great  ca¬ 
lamities  which  should  occasion  that  lamentation,  and 
justify  it,  v.  6 . .  9. 

1.  rpHE  burden  of  Moab.  Because  in 
JL  the  night  Ar  of  Moab  is  laid  waste, 
and  brought  to  silence;  because  in  the  night 
Kir  of  Moab  is  laid  waste,  and  brought  to 
silence:  2.  He  is  gone  up  to  Bajith,  and 


32 


ISAIAH,  XV. 


to  Dibon,  the  high  places,  to  weep:  Moab  ji 
shall  howl  over  Nebo,  and  over  Medeba; 
on  all  their  heads  shall,  be.  baldness,  and 
every  beard  cut  off.  3.  In  their  streets  they 
shall  gird  themselves  with  sackcloth:  on  the 
tops  of  their  houses,  and  in  their  streets 
every  one  shall  howl,  weeping  abundantly. 
4.  And  Heshbon  shall  cry,  and  Elealeh:  their 
voice  shall  be  heard  even  unto  Jahaz:  there¬ 
fore  the  armed  soldiers  of  Moab  shall  cry 
out;  his  life  shall  be  grievous  unto  him.  5. 
My  heart  shall  cry  out  for  Moab;  his  fugi¬ 
tives  shall  flee  unto  Zoar,  a  heifer  of  three 
years  old :  for  by  the  mounting  up  of  Luhith 
with  weeping  shall  they  go  it  up;  for  in  the 
way  of  Horonaim  they  shall  raise  up  a  cry 
of  destruction. 

The  country  of  Moab  was  of  small  extent,  but 
very  fruitful;  it  bordered  upon  the  lot  of  Reuben  on 
the  other  side  Jordan,  and  upon  the  Dead  sea.  Na¬ 
omi  went  to  sojourn  there,  when  there  was  a  famine 
in  Canaan.  This  is  the  country  which  (it  is  here 
foretold)  should  be  wasted  and  grievously  harass¬ 
ed;  not  quite  ruined,  for  we  find  another  prophecy 
of  its  ruin,  (Jer.  48. )  which  was  accomplished  by 
Nebuchadnezzar.  This  prophecy  here  was  to  be 
fulfilled  within  three  years,  ( ch .  xvi.  14.)  and  there¬ 
fore  was  fulfilled  in  the  devastations  made  of  that 
country  by  the  army  of  the  Assyrians,  which  for 
many  years  ravaged  those  parts,  enriching  them¬ 
selves  with  spoil  and  plunder.  It  was  done  either 
by  the  army  of  Shalmaneser,  about  the  time  of  the 
taking  of  Samaria  in  the  fourth  year  of  Hezekiah, 
(as  is  most  probable,)  or  by  the  army  of  Sennache¬ 
rib,  which,  ten  years  after,  invaded  Judah. 

We  cannot  suppose  that  the  prophet  went  among 
the  Moabites  to  preach  them  this  sermon;  but  he 
delivered  it  to  his  own  people,  (1.)  To  show  them, 
that  though  judgment  begins  at'the  house  of  God, 
it  shall  not  end  there;  that  there  is  a  Providence 
which  governs  the  world  and  all  the  nations  of  it; 
and  that  to  the  God  of  Israel  the  worshippers  of 
false  gods  were  accountable,  and  liable  to  his  judg¬ 
ments.  (2.)  To  give  them  a  proof  of  God’s  care  of 
them  and  jealousy  for  them ;  and  to  convince  them 
that  God  was  an  Enemy  to  their  enemies,  for  such 
the  Moabites  had  often  been.  (3. )  That  the  accom¬ 
plishment  of  this  prophecy,  now  shortly,  ( within 
three  years,)  might  be  a  confirmation  of  the  pro¬ 
phet’s  mission,  and  of  the  truth  of  all  his  other  pro¬ 
phecies,  and  might  encourage  the  faithful  to  depend 
upon  them. 

Now  concerning  Moab,  it  here  foretold, 

1.  That  their  chief  cities  should  be  surprised  and 
taken  in  a  night  by  their  enemy,  probabiv  because 
the  inhabitants,  as  the  men  of  Laish,  indulged  them¬ 
selves  in  ease  and  luxury,  and  dwelt  securely; 
(v.  1.)  Therefore  there  shall  be  great  grief,  be¬ 
cause  in  the  night  ytr  of  Moab  is  laid  waste,  and 
Kir  of  Moab;  the  two  principal  cities  of  that  king¬ 
dom.  In  the  night  that  they  were  taken,  or  sack¬ 
ed,  Moab  was  cut  off.  The  seizing  of  them  laid 
the  whole  country  open,  and  made  all  the  wealth 
of  it  an  easy  prey  to  the  victorious  army.  Note,  (1.) 
Great  changes  and  very  dismal  ones  may  be  made 
in  a  very  little  time.  Here  are  two  cities  lost  in  a 
night,  though  that  is  the  time  of  quietness:  let  us 
therefore  lie  down  as  those  that  know  not  what  a 
night  may  bring  forth.  (2. )  As  the  country  feeds 
the  cities,  so  the  cities  protect  the  country,  and 
neither  can  say  to  the  other,  I  have  no  need  of  thee. 


i  2.  That  the  Moabites,  being  hereDy  put  into  th< 
utmost  consternation  imaginable,  should  have  re 
course  to  their  idols  for  relief,  and  pour  out  theit 
tears  before  them;  Cv.  2.)  He,  that  is,  Moab,  es 
pecially  the  king  of  Moab,  is  gone  u/i  to  Bajitt.,  or 
rather,  to  the  house  or  temple  bf  Chemosh ;  and 
Dibon,  the  inhabitants  of  Dibon,  are  gone  up  to  the 
high  places,  where  they  worshipped  their  idols, 
there  to  make  their  complaints.  Note,  It  becomes 
a  people  in  distress  to  seek  their  God;  and  shall  not 
we  then  thus  walk  in  the  name  of  the  Lord  our  God, 
and  call  upon  him  in  the  time  of  trouble,  before 
whom  we  shall  not  shed  such  useless  profitless  tears 
as  they  did  before  their  gods? 

3.  That  there  should  be  the  voice  of  universal 
griT,  all  the  country  over.  It  is  described  here 
elegantly  and  very  a'ffectingly.  Moab  shall  be  a 
vale  of  tears;  a  little  map  of  this  world,  v.  2. 
The  Moabites  shall  lament  the  loss  of  Nebo  and 
Medeba,  two  considerable  cities,  which,  it  is  likelv, 
were  plundered  and  burnt.  They  shall  tear  their 
hair  for  grief,  to  that  degree,  that  'on  all  their  heads 
shall  be  baldness,  and  they  shall  cut  off  their  beards, 
according  to  the  customary  expressions  of  mourning 
in  those  times  and  countries.  When  they  go  abroad, 
they  shall  be  so  far  from  coveting  to  appear  hand¬ 
some,  that  in  the  streets  they  shall  gird  themselves 
with  sackcloth;  and  perhaps  being  forced  to  use 
that  poor  clothing,  the  enemies  having  stripped 
them,  and  rifled  their  houses,  and  left  them  no  other 
clothing.  When  they  come  home,  instead  of  ap¬ 
plying  themselves  to  their  business,  they  shall  go  up 
to  the  tops  of  their  houses,  which  were  flat-roofed, 
and  there  they  shall  weep  abundantly,  nay,  they 
shall  howl,  in  crying  to  their  gods':  those  that 
cry  not  to  God  with  their  hearts,  do  but  howl 
vfion  their  beds,  Hos.  vii.  14.  Amos  viii.  3.  They 
shall  come  down  with  weefling;  so  the  margin 
reads  it;  they  shall  come  down  from  their  high 
places  and  the  tops  of  their  houses,  weeping  as 
much  as  they  did  when  they  went  up.  Prayer  to 
the  true  God  is  heart’s-ease,  (1  Sam.  i.  18.')  but 
prayers  to  false  gods  are  not.  Divers  places  are 
here  named,  that  should  be  full  of  lamentation,  (v. 
4. )  and  it  is  but  a  poor  relief  to  have  so  many  fel¬ 
low-sufferers,  fellow-mourners;  to  a  public  spirit  it 
is  rather  an  aggravation,  socios  habuisse  doloris — 
to  have  associates  in  wo. 

4.  That  the  courage  of  their  militia  should  fail 
them;  though  they  were  bred  soldiers,  and  were 
well  armed,  yet  they  shall  cry  out,  and  shriek,  for 
fear,  and  every  one  of  them  shall  have  his  life 
become  grier’ous  to  him;  though  it  is  a  military'  life, 
which  delights  in  danger,  v.  4.  See  how  easily 
God  can  dispirit  the  stoutest  of  men,  and  deprive  a 
nation  of  benefit,  by  those  whom  it  most  depended 
upon  for  strength  and  defence.  The  Moabites  shall 
generally  be  so  overwhelmed  with  grief,  that  life 
itself  shall  be  a  burthen  to  them.  God  can  easily 
make  weary  of  life  those  that  are  fondest  of  it. 

5.  That  the  outcry  for  these  calamities  should 
propagate  grief  to  all  the  adjacent  parts,  v.  5.  (1.) 
The  prophet  himself  has  very  sensible  impressions 
made  upon  Iris  spirit  by  the  prediction  of  it;  “  My 
heart  shall  cry  out  for  Moab;  though  they  are  ene¬ 
mies  to  Israel,  they  are  our  fellow-creatures,  rf  the 
same  rank  with  us,  and  therefore  it  should  grieve  us 
to  see  them  in  such  distress,  the  rather  because  we 
know  not  how  soon  it  may  be  our  own  turn  to  drink 
of  the  same  cup  of  trembling.”  Note,  It  becomes 
God’s  ministers  to  be  of  a  tender  spirit,  not  to  de¬ 
sire  the  woful  day,  but  to  be  like  their  Master,  who 
wept  over  Jerusalem,  even  then  when  he  gave  her 
up  to  ruin;  like  their  God,  who  desires  not  the 
death  of  sinners.  (2.)  All  the  neighbouring  cities 
shall  echo  to  the  lamentations  of  Moab.  The  fu 
gitives,  who  are  making  the  best  of  their  way  t« 


8.3 


ISAIAH,  XVI. 


shift  for  their  own  safety,  shall  carry  the  cry  to 
Zoar,  the  city  to  which  their  ancestor  Lot  fled  for 
shelter  from  Sodom’s  flames,  which  was  spared  for 
his  sake.  They  shall  make  as  great  a  noise  with  their 
cry,  as  a  heifer  of  three  years  old  does,  when  she 
goes  hiving  for  her  calf,  as  1  Sam.  vi.  12.  They 
shall  go  up  the  hill  of  Luhith,  as  David  went  up  the 
ascent  of  mount  Olivet,  many  a  weary  step,  and  all 
in  tears,  2  Sam.  xv.  30.  And  in  the  way  of  Horo- 
niam,  (a  dual  termination,)  the  way  that  leads  to 
the  two  Beth-horons,  the  upper  and  the  nether, 
which  we  read  of,  Josh.  xvi.  3,  5.  Thither  the  cry 
shall  be  carried,  there  it  should  be  raised;  even  at 
that  great  distance,  a  cry  of  destruction,  that  shall 
be  the  cry;  like,  “Fire,  fire,  we  are  all  undone.” 
Grief  is  catching,  so  is  fear,  and  justly,  for  trouble 
is  spreading,  and  when  it  begins,  who  knows  where 
it  will  end? 

6.  For  the  waters  of  Nimrim  shall  be  de¬ 
solate:  for  the  hay  is  withered  away,  the 
grass  faileth,  there  is  no  green  thing.  7. 
Therefore  the  abundance  they  have  gotten, 
and  that  which  they  have  laid  up,  shall 
they  carry  away  to  the  brook  of  the  wil¬ 
lows.  8.  For  the  cry  is  gone  round  about 
the  borders  of  Moab ;  the  howling  thereof 
unto  Eglaim,  and  the  howling  thereof  unto 
Beer-elim.  9.  For  the  waters  of  Dimon 
shall  be  full  of  blood  :  for  I  will  bring  more 
upon  Dimon,  lions  upon  him  that  escapeth 
of  Moab,  and  upon  the  remnant  of  the  land. 

Here  the  prophet  further  describes  the  woful  and 
piteous  lamentations  that  should  be  heard  through¬ 
out  all  the  country  of  Moab,  when  it  should  become 
a  prey  to  the  Assyrian  army.  By  this  time  the  cry 
is  gone  round  about  all  the  borders  of  Moab,  v.  8. 
Every  corner  of  the  country  has  received  the  alarm, 
and  is  in  the  utmost  confusion  upon  it.  It  is  got  to 
Eglaim,  a  city  at  one  end  of  the  country;  and  to 
Beer-elim,  a  city  as  far  the  other  way.  Where  sin 
has  been  general,  and  all  flesh  have  corrupted  their 
wav,  what  can  be  expected  but  a  general  desolation? 

T wo  things  are  here  spoken  of,  as  causes  of  this 
lamentation. 

1.  The  waters  of  .Yimrim  are  desolate,  (y.  6.) 
The  country  is  plundered  and  impoverished,  and 
all  the  wealth  and  substance  of  it  swept  away  by 
the  victorious  army.  Famine  is  usually  the  sail 
effect  of  war.  Look  into  the  fields  that  were 
well  watered,  the  fruitful  meadows  that  yielded 
delightful  prospects,  and  more  delightful  pro¬ 
ducts,  and  there  all  is  eaten  up,  or  carried  off'  by 
the  enemy’s  foragers,  and  the  remainder  trodden  to 
dirt  by  their  horses.  If  an  army  encamp  upon 
green  fields,  their  greenness  is  soon  gone.  Look 
into  the  houses,  and  they  are  stripped  too;  (x>.  7. ) 
The  abundance  of  wealth  that  they  had  gotten  with 
a  great  deal  of  art  and  industry,  and  that  which  they 
have  laid  ufi  with  a  great  deal  of  care  and  confi¬ 
dence,  shall  they  carry  away  to  the  brook  of  the 
willows.  Either  the  owners  shall  carry  it  thither 
to  hide  it,  or  the  enemies  shall  carry  it  thither  to 
pack  it  up,  and  send  it  home,  by  water  perhaps,  to 
their  own  country.  Note,  (1.)  Those  that  are 
eager  to  get  abundance  of  this  world,  and  solicitous 
to  lay  up  what  they  have  gotten,  little  consider 
wh  it  may  become  of  it,  and  in  how  little  a  time  it 
may  be  all  taken  from  them.  Great  abundance, 
by  tempting  the  robbers,  exposes  the  owners;  and 
they  who  depend  upon  it  to  protect  them,  often  find 
'  it  does  but  betray  them.  (2.)  In  times  of  distress, 
great  riches  are  often  great  burthens,  and  do  but 


increase  the  owner’s  care  or  the  enemies’  strength. 
Cantabit  vacuus  coram  latrone  viator — The  penny- 
less  traveller  will  exult,  when  accosted  by  a  robber, 
in  having  nothing  about  him. 

2.  The  waters  of  Dimon  are  turned  into  blood, 
(f  •  9. )  'Fhe  inhabitants  of  the  country  are  slain  in 
great  numbers,  so  that  the  waters  adjoining  to  the 
cities,  whether  rivers  or  pools,  are  discoloured  with 
human  gore,  inhumanly  shed  like  water.  Dimon 
signifies  bloody;  the  place  shall  answer  to  its  name. 
Perhaps  it  was  that  place  in  the  country  of  Moab, 
where  the  water  seemed  to  the  Moabites  as  blood, 
(2  Kings  iii.  22,  23.)  which  occasioned  their  over¬ 
throw.  But  now,  says  God,  I  will  bring  more 
upon  Dimon,  more  blood  than  was  shed,  or  thought 
to  be  seen,  at  that  time.  I  will  bring  additions  upon 
Dimon,  (so  the  word  is,)  additional  plagues;  I  have 
yet  more  judgments  in  reserve  for  them;  for  all 
this,  God’s  anger  is  not  turned  away.  When  he 
judges,  lie  will  overcome;  and  to  the  roll  of  curses 
be  added  many  like  words,  Jer.  xxxvi.  32.  See 
here  what  is  the  yet  more  evil  to  be  brought  upon 
Dimon,  upon  Moab,  which  is  now  to  be  made  a 
land  of  blood.  Some  flee, 'and  make  their  escape, 
others  sit  still,  and  are  overlooked,  and  are  as  a  rem¬ 
nant  of  the  land;  but  upon  both  God  will  bring 
lions,  beasts  of  prey;  (which  are  reckoned  one  of 
God’s  four  judgments,  Ezek.  xiv.  21.)  and  these 
shall  glean  up  those  that  have  escaped  the  sword  of 
the  enemy.  Those  that  continue  impenitent  in  sin, 
when  they  are  preserved  from  one  judgment,  are 
but  reserved  for  another. 

CHAP.  XVI. 

This  chapter  continues  and  concludes  the  burthen  ol 
Moab.  In  it,  I.  The  prophet  gives  good  counsel  to  the 
Moabites,  to  reform  what  was  amiss  among  them,  and 
particularly  to  be  kind  to  God’s  people,  as  the  likeliest 
way  to  prevent  the  judgments  before  threatened,  v. 
1  . .  5.  II.  Fearing  they  would  not  take  this  counsel, 
(they  were  so  proud,)  he  goes  on  to  foretell  the  lament¬ 
able  devastation  of  their  country,  and  the  confusion  they 
should  be  brought  to,  and  this  within  three  years,  v. 
6 . .  14. 

1.  OEND  ye  the  lamb  to  the  ruler  of  the 
•O  land  from  Sela  to  the  wilderness, 

unto  the  mount  of  the  daughter  of  Zion. 

2.  For  it  shall  be,  that  as  a  wandering  bird 
cast  out  of  the  nest,  so  the  daughters  of 
Moab  shall  be  at  the  fords  of  Arnon.  3. 
Take  counsel,  execute  judgment,  make  thy 
shadow  as  the  night  in  the  midst  of  the 
noon-day ;  hide  the  outcasts,  bewray  not 
him  that  wandereth.  4.  Let  mine  outcasts 
dwell  with  thee,  Moab :  be  thou  a  covert 
to  them  from  the  face  of  the  spoiler:  for  the 
extortioner  is  at  an  end,  the  spoiler  ceaseth. 
the  oppressors  are  consumed  out  of  the  land. 
5.  And  in  mercy  shall  the  throne  be  establish¬ 
ed  ,  and  lie  shall  sit  upon  it  in  truth  in 
the  tabernacle  of  David,  judging  and  seek¬ 
ing  judgment,  and  hasting  righteousness. 

God  has  made  it  to  appear  that  he  delights  not  in 
the  ruin  of  sinners,  by  telling  them  what  they  mav 
do  to  prevent  the  ruin;  so  he  does  here  to  Moab. 

I.  He  advises  them  to  be  just  to  the  house  of  Da¬ 
vid,  and  to  pay  the  tribute  they  had  formerlv  cove¬ 
nanted  to  pay  to  the  kings  of  his  line;  (v.  1.  )  Send 
ye  the  lamb  to  the  ruler  of  the  land.  David  made 
the  Moabites  tributaries  to  him;  (2  Sam.  viii.  2.) 
they  became  his  servants,  and  brought  gifts.  After 
wards  they  paid  their  tribute  to  the  kings  of  Israel. 


ISAIAH,  XVI. 


2  Kings  iii.  4.)  and  paid  it  in  lambs.  Now  the  pro¬ 
phet  requires  them  to  pay  it  to  Hezekiah.  Let  it 
be  raised  and  levied  from  all  parts  of  the  country, 
from  Sela,  a  frontier  city  of  Moab  on  the  one  side, 
to  the  wilderness,  a  boundary  of  the  kingdom  on 
the  other  side:  and  let  it  be  sent,  where  it  should 
be  sent,  to  the  mount  of  the  daughter  of  Zion,  the 
city  of  David.  Some  take  it  as  an  advice  to  send  a 
lamb  for  a  sacrifice  to  God  the  Ruler  of  the  earth, 
(so  it  may  be  read,)  the  Lord  of  the  whole  earth. 
Ruler  of'  all  lands;  the  land  of  Moab,  as  well  as 
the  land  of  Israel;  “Send it  to  the  temple  built  on 
mount  Zion.”  And  some  think  it  is  in  this  sense 
spoken  ironically,  upbraiding  the  Moabites  with 
their  folly  in  delaying  to  repent,  and  make  their 
peace  with  God;  “Now  you  would  be  glad  to  send 
a  lamb  to  mount  Zion,  to  make  the  God  of  Israel 
vour  Friend;  but  it  is  too  late,  the  decree  has 
brought  forth,  the  consumption  is  determined,  and 
the  daughters  of  Moab  shall  be  cast  out  as  a  wan¬ 
dering  bird,”  v.  2.  I  rather  take  it  as  good  advice 
seriously  given,  like  that  of  Daniel  to  Nebuchad¬ 
nezzar  then  when  he.  was  reading  him  his  doom; 
(Dan.  iv.  27.)  Break  off  thy  sins  by  righteousness, 
if  it  may  be  a  lengthening  of  thy  tranquillity.  And 
as  it  is  applicable  to  the  great  gospel-duty  of  sub¬ 
mission  to  Christ,  as  the  Ruler  of  the  land,  and  our 
Ruler,  “  Send  him  the  lamb,  the  best  you  have, 
vourselves  a  living  sacrifice.  When  you  come  to 
God  the  great  Ruler,  come  in  the  name  of  the 
Lamb,  the  Lamb  of  God.  For  else  it  shall  be,” 
so  we  may  read  it,  f.  2.)  “  that  as  a  wandering, 
ird  cast  out  of  the  nest,  so  shall  the  daughters  of 
Moab  be.  If  you  will  not  pay  your  quit-rent,  your 
ist  tribute  to  the  king  of  Judah,  you  shall  be  turned 
tut  of  your  houses:  the  daughters  of  Moab  (the 
country-villages,  or  the  women  of  your  country) 
shall  nutter  about  the  fords  of  Arnon,  attempting 
that  way  to  make  their  escape  to  some  other  land, 
like  a  wandering  bird  thrown  out  of  the  nest  half- 
fledged.  ”  Those  that  will  not  submit  to  Christ, 
nor  be  gathered  under  the  shadow  of  his  wings, 
shall  be  as  a  bird  that  wanders  from  her  nest,  that 
shall  either  be  snatched  up  by  the  next  bird  of 
prey,  or  shall  wander  endlessly  in  continual  frights. 
Those  that  will  not  yield  to  the  fear  of  God,  shall 
be  made  to  yield  to  the  fear  of  every  thing  else. 

II.  He  advises  them  to  be  kind  to  the  seed  of  Is¬ 
rael;  (y.  3.)  “Take  counsel,  call  a  convention, 
and  consult  among  yourselves  what  is  fit  to  be  done 
in  the  present  critical  juncture;  and  you  will  find 
it  your  best  way  to  execute  judgment,  to  reverse 
all  the  unrighteous  decrees  you  have  made,  by 
which  you  have  put  hardships  upon  the  people  of 
God;  and,  in  token  of  your  repentance  for  them, 
study  now  how  to  oblige  them,  and  this  shall  be  ac¬ 
cepted  of  God  more  than  all  burnt-offering  and  sa¬ 
crifice.” 

1.  The  prophet  foresaw  some  storm  coming  upon 
the  people  of  God,  perhaps  the  good  people  of  the 
ten  tribes,  or  of  the  two  and  a  half  on  the  other 
side  Jordan,  whose  country  joined  to  that  of  Moab, 
and  who,  by  the  merciful  providence  of  God,  es¬ 
caped  the  mry  of  the  Assyrian  army,  had  their 
lives  given  them  for  a  prey,  and  were  reserved  for 
better  times,  but  were  put  to  the  utmost  extremity 
to  shift  for  their  own  safety.  The  danger  and  trou¬ 
ble  they  were  in,  were  like  the  scorching  heat  at 
noon;  the  face  of  the  spoiler  was  very  fierce  upon 
them,  and  the  oppressor  and  extortioner  were  ready 
to  swallow  them  up. 

2.  He  bespeaks  a  shelter  for  them  in  the  land  of 
Moab,  when  their  own  land  was  made  disagreeable 
i  i  them.  This  judgment  they  must  execute;  thus 
wisely  must  they  do  for  themselves,  and  thus  kindly 
must  they  deal  with  the  people  of  God.  If  they 
would  themselves  continue  in  their  habitations,  let 


them  now  open  their  doors  to  the  distressed  dis¬ 
persed  members  of  God’s  church,  and  be  to  them 
like  a  cool  shade  to  those  that  bear  the  burthen  and 
heat  of  the  day.  Let  them  not  discover  those  that 
absconded  among  them,  nor  deliver  them  up  to  the 
pursuers  that  made  search  for  them;  “Bewray  not 
him  that  wandereth,  nor  deliver  him  up,”  (as  the 
Edomites  did,  Obad.  xiii.  14.)  “but  hide  the  out¬ 
casts.”  This  was  that  good  work  by  which  Ra- 
hab’s  faith  was  justified,  and  proved  to  be  sincere; 
(Heb.  xi.  31.)  “  Nay,  do  not  only  hide  them  for  a 
time,  but,  if  there  be  occasion,  let  them  be  natu¬ 
ralized;  let  mine  outcasts  dwell  with  thee,  Moab; 
find  a  lodging  for  them,  and  be  thou  a  covert  to 
them.  Let  them  be  taken  under  the  protection  of 
the  government,  though  they  are  but  poor,  and 
likely  to  be  achargeto  thee.”  Note,  (1.)  It  is  often 
the  lot  even  of  those  who  are  Israelites  indeed,  to 
be  outcasts,  driven  out  of  house  and  harbour,  by 
persecution  or  war,  Heb.  xi.  37.  (2.)  God  owns 

them,  when  men  reject  and  disown  them.  They 
are  outcasts,  but  they  are  mine  outcasts.  The 
Lord  knows  them  that  are  his,  wherever  he  finds 
them,  even  there  where  no  one  else  knows  them. 
(3.)  God  will  find  a  restand  shelter  for  his  outcasts; 
for  though  they  are  persecuted,  they  are  not  for¬ 
saken.  He  will  himself  be  their  Dwelling-Place, 
if  they  have  no  other,  and  in  him  they  shall  be  at 
home.  (4.)  God  can,  when  he  pleases,  raise  up 
friends  for  his  people,  even  among  Moabites,  when 
they  can  find  none  in  all  the  land  of  Israel,  that 
can  and  dare  shelter  them.  The  earth  often  helps 
the  woman.  Rev.  xii.  16.  (5. )  Those  that  expect 

to  find  favour  when  they  are  in  trouble  themselves, 
must  show  favour  to  those  that  are  in  trouble;  and 
what  service  is  done  to  God’s  outcasts,  shall,  no 
doubt,  be  recompensed  one  way  or  other. 

3.  He  assures  them  of  the  mercy  God  had  in 
store  for  his  people.  (1.)  That  they  should  not 
long  need  their  kindness,  or  be  troublesome  to  them, 
for  the  extortioner  is  almost  at  an  end  already,  and 
the  spoiler  ceases.  God’s  people  shall  not  be  long 
outcasts,  they  shall  have  tribulation  ten  days,  (Re-.', 
ii.  10.)  and  that  is  all.  The  spoiler  would  never 
cease  spoiling,  if  he  might  have  his  will;  but  God 
has  him  in  a  chain.  Hitherto  he  shall  go,  but  no 
further.  (2.)  That  they  should,  ere  long,  be  in  a 
capacity  to  return  their  kindness;  (x>.  5.)  “Though 
the  throne  of  the  ten  tribes  be  sunk  and  overturn¬ 
ed,  yet  the  throne  of  David  shall  be  established  in 
mercy,  by  the  mercy  they  received  from  God,  and 
the  mercy  they  show  to  others;  and  by  the  same 
methods  may  your  throne  be  established  if  you 
please.”  It  would  engage  great  men  to  be  kind  to 
the  people  of  God,  if  they  would  but  observe,  as 
they  easily  might,  how  often  that  brings  the  bless¬ 
ing  of  God  upon  kingdoms  and  families.  “Make 
Hezekiah  your  friend,  for  you  will  find  it  your  inte¬ 
rest  to  do  so,  upon  the  account  both  of  the  grace  of 
God  in  him,  and  the  presence  of  God  with  him. 
He  shall  sit  upon  the  throne  in  truth,  and  then  he 
does  indeed  sit  in  honour,  and  sit  fast.  Then  he 
shall  sit  judging,  and  will  then  be  a  protector  to 
those  that  have  been  a  shelter  to  the  people  of 
God.”  And  see  in  him  the  character  of  a  good 
magistrate.  [1.]  He  shall  seek  judgment;  he  shall 
seek  occasions  of  doing  right  to  those  that  are  wr<  ag¬ 
ed,  and  shall  punish  the  injurious  even  before  they 
are  complained  of:  or,  he  shall  diligently  search 
into  every  cause  brought  before  him,  that  he  may 
find  where  the  right  lies.  [2.]  He  shall  hasten 
righteousness,  and  not  delay  to  do  justice,  nor  keep 
those  long  waiting,  that  make  application  to  himfot 
the  redress  of  their  grievances.  Though  he  seeks 
judgment,  and  deliberates  upon  it,  yet  he  does  not, 
under  pretence  of  that,  stay  the  progress  of  the 
streams  of  justice.  Let  the  Moabites  take  exam 


35 


ISAIAH,  XVI. 


pit  by  this,  and  then  assure  themselves  that  their 
state  shall  be  established. 

6.  We  have  heard  of  the  pride  of  JVloab; 
he  is  very  proud:  even  of  his  haughtiness, 
and  his  pride,  and  his  wrath :  but  his  lies 
shall  not  be  so.  7.  Therefore  shall  Moab 
howl  for  Moab,  every  one  shall  howl :  for 
the  foundations  of  Kir-hareseth  shall  ye 
mourn;  surely  they  are  stricken.  8.  For 
the  fields  of  Heshbon  languish,  and  the 
vine  of  Sibmah:  the  lords  of  the  heathen 
have  broken  down  the  principal  plants 
thereof,  they  are  come  even  unto  Jazer, 
they  wandered  through  the  wilderness;  her 
branches  are  stretched  out,  they  are  gone 
over  the  sea :  9.  Therefore  I  will  bewail 

with  the  weeping  of  Jazer  the  vine  of  Sib¬ 
mah  :  I  will  water  thee  with  my  tears,  O 
Heshbon,  and  Elealeh ;  for  the  shouting  for 
thy  summer-fruits,  and  for  thy  harvest,  is 
fallen.  10.  And  gladness  is  taken  away, 
and  joy  out  of  the  plentiful  field;  and  in  the 
vineyards  there  shall  be  no  singing,  neither 
shall  there  be  shouting:  the  treaders  shall 
tread  out  no  wine  in  their  presses ;  I  have 
made  their  rm/r/ge-shouting  to  cease.  11. 
Wherefore  my  bowels  shall  sound  like  a 
harp  for  Moab,  and  mine  inward  parts  for 
Kir-haresh.  12.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass, 
when  it  is  seen  that  Moab  is  weary  on  the 
high  place,  that  he  shall  come  to  his  sanc¬ 
tuary  to  pray;  but  he  shall  not  prevail.  13. 
This  is  the  word  that  the  Lord  hath  spoken 
concerning  Moab  since  that  time.  1 4.  But 
now  the  Lord  hath  spoken,  saying,  Within 
three  years,  as  the  years  of  a  hireling,  and 
the  glory  of  Moab  shall  be  contemned,  with 
all  that  great  multitude ;  and  the  remnant 
shall  be  very  small  and  feeble. 

Here  we  have, 

1.  The  sins  with  which  Moab  is  charged,  v.  6. 
The  prophet  seems  to  check  himself  for  going  about 
to  give  good  counsel  to  the  Moabites,  concluding 
they  would  not  take  the  advice  he  gave  them.  He 
told  them  their  duty,  (whether  they  would  hear,  or 
whether  they  would  forbear,)  but  despairs  of  work¬ 
ing  any  good  upon  them;  he  would  have  healed 
them,  but  they  would  not  be  healed.  They  that 
will  not  be  counselled,  cannot  be  helped.  Their  sins 
were,  1.  Pride;  this  is  most  insisted  upon;  for  per¬ 
haps  there  are  more  precious  souls  ruined  by  pride 
than  by  any  one  lust  whatsoever.  The  Moabites 
were  notorious  for  this;  IVe  have  heard  of  the  firide 
of  Moab ;  it  is  what  all  their  neighbours  cry  out 
sname  upon  them  for;  he  is  very  proud;  the  body 
of  the  nation  is  so,  forgetting  the  baseness  of  their 
original,  and  the  brand  of  infamy  fastened  upon  them 
by  that  Law  of  God,  which  forbade  a  Moabite  to 
enter  into  the  congregation  of  the  Lord  for  ever. 
Dent  xxiii.  3.  We  have  heard  of  his  haughtiness 
and  his  firide;  it  is  not  the  rash  and  rigid  censure 
of  one  or  two  concerning  them,  but  it  is  the  charac¬ 
ter  which  all  that  know  them  will  give  of  them ; 
they  are  a  proud  people:  and  therefore  they  will 
not  take  good  counsel  when  it  is  given  them,  they 


think  themselves  too  wise  to  be  advised;  therefore 
they  will  not  take  example  by  Hezekiah  to  do  justly 
and  love  mercy;  they  scorn  to  make  him  their  pat¬ 
tern,  for  they  think  themselves  able  to  teach  him. 
They  are  proud,  and  therefore  will  not  be  subject 
to  God  himself,  nor  regard  the  warnings  he  gives 
them.  The  wicked,  in  the  firide  of  his  countenance, 
will  not  seek  after  God:  they  are  proud,  and  there 
fore  will  not  entertain  and  protect  God’s  outcasts, 
they  scorn  to  have  any  thing  to  do  with  them:  but 
this  is  not  all,  2.  We  have  heard  of  his  wrath  too, 
(for  those  that  are  very  proud,  are  commonly  ' 
passionate,)  particularly  his  wrath  against  the  peo¬ 
ple  of  God,  whom  therefore  he  will  rather  per.m 
cute  than  protect.  3.  It  is  with  his  lies  that  he  gab, , 
the  gratifications  of  his  pride  and  his  passion;  bu* 
his  lies  shall  not  be  so,  he  shall  not  compass  his 
proud  and  angry  projects,  as  he  hoped  he  should. 
Some  read  it,  His  haughtiness,  his  firide,  and  hit 
wrath,  are  greater  than  his  strength.  We  know 
that  if  we  lay  at  his  mercy,  we  should  find  no  merev 
with  him,  but  he  has  not  power  equal  to  his  malice, 
his  pride  draws  down  ruin  upon  him,  for  it  is  tbi 
preface  to  destruction,  and  he  has  not  strength  to 
ward  it  off. 

II.  The  sorrows  with  which  Moab  is  threatened; 
(i>.  7.)  Therefore  shall  Moab  howl  for  Moab;  ali 
the  inhabitants  shall  bitterly  lament  the  ruin  of 
their  country,  they  shall  complain  one  to  another, 
every  one  shall  howl  in  despair,  and  not  one  shall 
either  see  any  cause,  or  have  any  heart,  to  encou¬ 
rage  his  friend.  Observe, 

1.  The  causes  of  this  sorrow.  (1.)  The  destruc¬ 
tion  of  their  cities;  For  the  foundations  of  Kir-ha¬ 
reseth  shall  ye  mourn;  that  great  and  strong  city, 
which  had  held  out  against  a  mighty  force,  (2  Kings 
iii.  15.)  should  now  be  levelled  with  the  ground, 
either  burnt  or  broken  down,  and  its  foundations 
stricken,  bruised  and  broken;  so  the  word  signifies; 
they  shall  howl  when  they  see  their  splendid  cities 
turned  into  ruinous  heaps.  (2.)  The  desolation  of 
their  country.  Moab  was  famous  for  its  fields  and 
vineyards;  but  those  shall  all  be  laid  waste  by  the 
invading  army,  (v.  8,  10.)  See,  [1.]  What  a  fruit¬ 
ful,  pleasant  country  they  had,  as  the  garden  of  the 
Lord,  Gen.  xiii.  10.  It  was  planted  with  choic; 
and  noble  vines,  with  principal  plants,  which  read, 
even  to  Jazer,  a  city  in  the  tribe  of  Gad;  the  luxu¬ 
riant  branches  of  their  vines  wandered,  and  wound 
themselves  along  the  ranges  on  which  they  were 
spread,  even  through  the  wilderness  of  Moab,  there 
were  vineyards  there;  nay,  they  were  stretched  out, 
and  went  even  to  the  sea,  the  Dead  sea;  the  best 
grapes  grew  in  their  hedge-rows.  [2.]  How  merry 
and  pleasant  they  had  been  in  it;  many  a  time  they 
had  shouted  for  their  summer-fruits,  and  for  their 
harvest,  as  the  country  people  sometimes  do  with 
us,  when  they  have  cut  down  all  their  com.  They 
had  had  joy  and  gladness  in  their  fields  and  vine¬ 
yards,  singing  and  shouting  at  the  treading  of  their 
grapes;  nothing  is  said  of  theirpraising  God  for  their 
abundance,  and  giving  him  the  glory  of  it.  If  they 
had  made  it  the  matter  of  their  thanksgiving,  they 
might  still  have  had  it  the  matter  of  their  rejoicing, 
but  they  made  it  the  food  and  fuel  of  their  lusts; 
see  therefore,  [3.]  How  they  should  be  stripped  of 
all;  the  fields  shall  languish,  all  the  fruits  of  them 
being  carried  away,  or  trodden  down;  they  cannot 
now  enrich  their  owners  as  they  have  done,  and 
therefore  they  languish.  The  soldiers,  called  here 
the  lords  of  the  heathen,  shall  break  down  all  the 
plants,  though  they  were  principal  plants,  the 
choicest  that  could  be  got  Now  the  shouting  for 
the  enjoyment  of  the  summer-fruits  is  fallen,  and  L 
turned  into  howling  for  the  loss  of  them;  the  joy  of 
harvest  is  ceased,  there  is  no  more  singing,  no  more 
shouting,  for  the  treadiqg  out  of  wine:  they  have 


ISAIAH,  XVII. 


not  what  they  have  had  to  rejoice  in,  nor  have  they  j| 
a  disposition  to  rejoice,  the  ruin  of  their  country  has  | 
marred  their  mirth.  Note,  First,  God  can  easily  : 
change  the  note  of  those  that  are  most  addicted  to  [ 
mirth  and  pleasure,  can  soon  turn  their  laughter  | 
into  mourning,  and  their  joy  into  heaviness.  Sc-  j 
condly,  Joy  in  God  is,  upon  this  account,  far  better  ! 
than  the  iov  of  harvest,  that  it  is  what  we  cannot  be  ! 
robbed  of,  Ps.  iv.  6,  7.  Destroy  the  vines  and  the  fig-  !j 
trees,  and  you  make  all  the  mirth  of  a  carnal  heart  jl 
to  cease,  Hos.  ii.  11,  12.  But  a  gracious  soul  can  jj 
rejoice  in  the  Lord  as  the  God  of  its  salvation,  even  |j 
then  when  the  fig-tree  does  not  blossom,  and  there  i 
is  no  fruit  in  the  vine,  Hab.  iii.  17,  18.  In  God  jj 
therefore  let  us  always  rejoice  with  a  holy  triumph,  jl 
and  in  other  things  let  us  always  rejoice  with  a  holy  j 
trembling,  rejoice  as  though  we  rejoiced  not 

2.  The  concurrence  of  the  prophet  with  them  in  j 
this  sorrow;  “/ mill  with  wee  flint;  bewail  Jazer,  and 
the  vine  of  Sibmah,  and  look  with  a  compassionate 
concern  upon  the  desolations  of  such  a  pleasant 
country;  I will  water  thee  with  my  tears,  O  Hesh- 
bon,  and  mingle  them  with  thy  tears;”  nay,  (v.  11.) 
it  appears  to  be  an  inward  grief;  My  bowels  shall 
sound  like  a  harp  for  Moab;  it  should  make  such 
an  impression  upon  him,  that  he  should  feel  an  in¬ 
ward  trembling,  like  that  of  the  strings  of  a  harp 
when  it  is  played  upon.  It  well  becomes  God’s  pro¬ 
phets  to  acquaint  themselves  with  grief;  the  great 
Prophet  did  so.  The  afflictions  of  the  world,  as  well 
as  those  of  the  church,  should  be  afflictions  to  us. 
See  ch.  xv.  5. 

In  the  close  of  this  chapter,  we  have, 

*1.)  The  insufficiency  of  the  gods  of  Moab,  the 
false  gods,  to  help  them,  v.  12.  Moab  shall  be  soon 
weary  of  the  high-place,  he  shall  spend  his  spirits 
and  strength  in  vain  in  praying  to  his  idols;  they 
cannot  help  him,  and  he  shall  be  convinced  that 
they  cannot.  It  is  seen  that  it  is  to  no  purpose  to 
expect  any  relief  from  the  high-places  on  earth,  it 
must  come  from  above  the  hills.  Men  are  gener¬ 
ally  so  stupid,  that  they  will  not  believe,  till  they 
are  made  to  see,  the  vanity  of  idols  and  of  all  crea¬ 
ture-confidences,  nor  will  come  off  from  them,  till 
they  are  made  weary  of  them.  But  when  he  is 
weary  of  his  high-places,  he  will  not  go,  as  he 
should,  to  God’s  sanctuary,  but  to  his  sanctuary,  to 
the  temple  of  Chemosh,  the  principal  idol  of  Moab; 
so  it  is  generally  understood;  and  he  shall  pray  there 
to  as  little  purpose,  and  as  little  to  his  own  ease  and 
satisfaction,  as  he  did  in  his  high-places;  for,  what¬ 
ever  honours  idolaters  do  their  idols,  they  do  not 
thereby  make  them  at  all  the  better  able  to  help 
them;  whether  they  are  the  Dii  majorum  Gentium 
— Gods  of  the  higher  order,  or  minorum — of  the 
lower  order,  they  are  alike  the  creatures  of  men’s  ] 
fancy,  and  the  work  of  men’s  hands.  Perhaps  it 
may  be  meant  of  their  coming  to  God’s  sanctuary: 
when  they  found  they  could  have  no  succours  from 
their  high-places,  some  of  them  would  come  to  the 
temple  of  God  at  Jerusalem,  to  pray  there,  but  in 
vain;  he  will  justly  send  them  back  to  the  gods 
whom  they  have  served,  Judg.  X.  14. 

(2.)  The  sufficiency  of  the  God  of  Israel,  the  only 
true  God,  to  make  good  what  he  had  spoken  against 
them.  _  _  1  ! 

[1.]  The  thing  itself  was  long  since  determined; 
(v.  13.)  This  is  the  word,  this  is  the  thing,  that  the  i 
Lord  has  spoken  concerning  Moab,  since  the  time  : 
that  he  began  to  be  so  proud  and  insolent,  and  allu¬ 
sive  to  God’s  people.  The  country  was  long  ago 
doomed  to  ruin;  this  was  enough  to  give  an  assur¬ 
ance  of  it,  that  it  is  the  word  which  the  Lord  has 
spoken;  and  as  he  will  never  unsay  what  he  has 
spoken,  so  all  the  power  of  hell  and  earth  cannot 
gainsay  it,  or  obstruct  the  execution  of  it. 

[2.]  Now  it  was  made  known  when  it  should  be 


done;  the  time  was  before  fixed  in  the  couns-1  of 
God,  but  now  it  was  revealed,  The  Lord  has  spoken 
that  it  shall  be  within  three  years,  v.  14.  It  is  not 
for  us  to  know,  or  covet  to  know,  the  times  and  the 
seasons,  any  further  than  God  has  thought  fit  to 
make  them  known;  and  so  far  we  may  and  must 
take  notice  of  them.  See  how  God  makes  known 
his  mind  by  degrees;  the  light  of  divine  revelation 
shone  more  and  more,  and  so  does  the  light  of  divine 
grace  in  the  heart. 

Observe,  First,  The  sentence  passed  upon  Moab; 
The  glory  of  Moab  shall  be  contemned;  it  shall  be 
contemptible,  when  all  those  things  they  have  glo¬ 
ried  in,  shall  come  to  nothing.  Such  is  the  glory  o» 
this  world,  so  fading  and  uncertain,  admired  awhik, 
but  soon  slighted.  Let  that  therefore  which  wiii 
soon  be  contemptible  in  the  eyes  of  others,  be  al¬ 
ways  contemptible  in  our  eyes,  in  comparison  with 
the  far  more  exceeding  weight  of  glory.  It  was 
the  glory  of  Moab  that  their  country  was  very  po¬ 
pulous,  and  their  forces  courageous,  but  where  is 
her  glory,  when  all  that  great  multitude  is  in  a  n. mi¬ 
ner  swept  away,  some  by  one  judgment,  and  seme 
by  another,  and  the  little  remnant  that  is  left  shall 
be  very  small  and  feeble,  not  able  to  bear  up  un¬ 
der  their  own  griefs,  much  less  to  make  head 
against  their  enemies’  insults?  Let  not  therefore 
the  strong  glory  in  their  strength,  nor  the  many  in 
their  numbers. 

Secondly,  The  time  fixed  for  the  execution  of  this 
sentence;  Within  three  years,  as  the  years  of  a  hire¬ 
ling,  at  the  three  years’  end  exactly;  for  a  servant 
that  is  hired  for  a  certain  term  keeps  count  to  a  day. 
Let  Moab  know  that  her  ruin  is  very  near,  and  pre¬ 
pare  accordingly.  Fair  warning  is  given,  and  with 
it  space  to  repent,  which  if  they  had  improved  as 
Nineveh  did,  we  have  reason  to  think,  the  judg¬ 
ments  threatened  had  been  prevented. 

CHAP.  XVII.. 

Syria  and  Ephraim  were  confederate  apr^inst  -Judah,  (ch. 
vii.  1,  2.)  and  thev  bein^  so  closely  linked  together  in 
their  counsels,  this  chapter,  though  it  be  entitled  the 
burthen  of  Damascus ,  (which  was  the  head  city  of  Sy¬ 
ria,)  reads  the  doom  of  Israel  too.  I.  The  destruction 
of  the  strong  cities  both  of  Syria  and  Israel  is  here  fore¬ 
told,  (v.  1 .  .5.)  and  a^ain,  v.  9.  .1 1.  II.  In  the  midst  of 
judgment  mercy  is  remembered  to  Israel,  and  a  gracious 
promise  made  that  a  remnant  should  be  preserved  from 
the  calamities,  and  should  get  good  by  them,  v.  6  .  .  8. 
III.  The  overthrow  of  the  Assyrian  army  before  Jerusa¬ 
lem  is  pointed  at,  v.  12..  14.  in  order  of  time, this  chap¬ 
ter  should  be  placed  next  after  ch.  ix.  frr  the  destruc¬ 
tion  of  Damascus  here  foretold,  happened  in  the  reijrn 
of  Ahaz,  2  Kings  xvi.  9. 

1.  f  I MIL  burden  of  Damascus.  Behold 
H  Damascus  is  taken  away  from  being 
a  city,  and  it  shall  be  a  ruinous  heap.  2. 
The  cities  of  Aroer  are  forsaken;  they  shall 
be  for  flocks  which  shall  lie  down,  and  none 
shall  make  them  afiaid.  3.  The  fortress 
shall  also  cease  from  Ephraim,  and  the  king¬ 
dom  from  Damascus,  and  the  remnant  of 
Syria :  they  shall  lie  as  the  glory  of  the  chil¬ 
dren  of  Israel,  saith  the  Loud  of  hosts.  4. 
And  in  that  day  it  shall  come  to  pass,  thal. 
the  glory  of  Jacob  shall  be  made  thin,  and 
the  fatness  of  his  flesh  shall  wax  lean.  .5. 
And  it  shall  be  as  when  the  harvest-man 
gathereth  the  corn,  and  '-eapeth  the  ears 
with  his  arm ;  and  it  shf  Jl  be  as  he  that 
gathereth  ears  in  the  valley  of  Rephaim. 
We  have  here  the  burthen  cf  Damascus;  the 


87 


ISAiAH 

Chaldee  Paraphrase  reads  it,  The  burthen  of  the 
cufi  of  the  curse  to  drink  to  Damascus  in;  and  the 
ten  tribes  being  in  alliance,  they  must  expect  to 
pledge  Damascus  in  this  cup  of  trembling  that  is  to 
go  round. 

1.  Damascus  itself,  the  head  city  of  Syria,  must 
be  destroyed;  the  houses,  it  is  likely',  will  be  burnt, 
at  least  the  walls  and  gates  and  fortifications  demo¬ 
lished,  and  the  inhabitants  carried  away  captive,  so 
that  for  the  present  it  is  taken  away  from  being  a 
city,  and  is  reduced,  not  only  to  a  village,  but  to  a 
ruinous  heap,  v.  1.  Such  desolating  work  as  this 
does  sin  make  with  cities. 

2.  The  country  towns  are  abandoned  by  their  in¬ 
habitants,  frightened  or  forced  away  by  their  inva¬ 
ders;  The  cities  of  Aroer  (a  province  of  Syria  so 
called)  are  forsaken,  (v.  2.)  the  conquered  dare  not 
dwell  in  them,  and  the  conquerors  have  no  occasion 
for  them,  nor  did  they  seize  them  for  want,  but 
wantonness;  so  that  the  places  which  should  be  for 
men  to  live  in,  are  for  Jlocks  to  lie  down  in,  which 
they  may  do,  and  none  will  disturb  or  dislodge  them. 
Stately  houses  are  converted  into  sheep-cotes.  It  is 
strange  that  great  conquerors  should  pride  them¬ 
selves  in  being  common  enemies  to  mankind.  But, 
how  unrighteous  soever  they  are,  God  is  righteous 
in  causing  these  cities  to  spue  out  their  inhabitants, 
who  by  their  wickedness  had  made  themseh’es  vile; 
it  is  better  that  flocks  should  lie  down  there,  than 
that  they  should  harbour  such  as  are  in  open  rebel¬ 
lion  against  God  and  virtue. 

3.  The  strong-holds  of  Israel,  the  kingdom  of  the 
ten  tribes,  will  be  brought  to  ruin;  the  fortress  shall 
cease  from  Eflhraim,  (i\  3.)  that  in  Samaria,  and 
all  the  rest.  They  had  joined  with  Syria  in  invad¬ 
ing  Judah  very  unnaturally;  and  now  they  that  had 
been  partakers  in  sin,  should  be  made  partakers  in 
ruin,  and  justly.  When  the  fortress  shall  cease 
from  Eflhraim,  by  which  Israel  shall  be  weakened, 
the  kingdom  will  cease  from  Damascus,  by  which 
Syria  will  be  ruined.  The  Syrians  were  the  ring¬ 
leaders  in  that  confederacy  against  Judah,  and  there¬ 
fore  they  are  punished  first  and  sorest;  and  because 
they  boasted  of  their  alliance  with  Israel,  now  that 
Israel  is  weakened,  they  are  upbraided  with  those 
boasts;  The  remnant  of  Syria  shall  be  as  the  glory 
of  the  children  of  Israel;  those  few  that  remain  of 
the  Syrians,  shall  be  in  as  mean  and  despicable  a 
condition  as  the  children  of  Israel  are,  and  the 
glory  of  Israel  shall  be  no  relief  or  reputation  to 
them.  Sinful  confederacies  will  be  no  strength,  no 
stay,  to  the  confederates,  when  God’s  judgments 
come  upon  them. 

See  here  what  the  glory  of  Jacob  is,  when  God 
contends  with  him,  and  what  little  reason  Syria  will 
have  to  be  proud  of  resembling  the  glory  of  Jacob. 

(1.)  It  is  wasted  like  a  man  in  a  consumption,  v. 

4.  The  glory  of  Jacob  was  their  numbers,  that  they 
were  as  the  sand  of  the  sea  for  multitude;  but  this 
glory  shall  be  made  thin,  when  many  are  cut  off, 
and  few  left.  Then  the  fatness  of  their  flesh,  which 
was  their  pride  and  security,  shall  wax  lean,  and 
the  body  of  the  people  shall  become  a  perfect  skel¬ 
eton,  nothing  but  skin  and  bones.  Israel  died  of  a 
lingering  disease,  the  kingdom  of  the  ten  tribes 
wasted  gradually.  God  was  to  them  as  a  moth, 
Hos.  v.  12.  Such  is  all  the  glory  of  this  world,  it 
soon  withers,  and  is  made  thin;  but  there  is  a  far 
more  exceeding  and  eternal  weight  of  glory  design¬ 
ed  for  the  spiritual  seed  of  Jacob,  which  is  not  sub¬ 
ject  to  any  such  decay;  fatness  of  God’s  house, 
which  will  not  wax  lean. 

(2.)  It  is  all  gathered  and  carried  away  by  the 
Assyrian  army,  as  the  corn  is  carried  out  of  the 
field  by  the  husbandman,  v.  5.  The  corn  is  the 
glory  of  the  fields;  (Ps.  lxv.  13.)  but  when  it  is 
reaped  and  gone,  where  is  the  glory?  The  people 


I,  XVII. 

I  had  by  their  sins  made  themselves  ripe  for  ruin,  arid 

I  their  glory  was  as  quickly,  as  easily,  as  justly,  and 
as  irresistibly,  cut  down  and  taken  away,  as  the 
corn  is  out  of  the  field  by  the  husbandman.  God’s 
judgments  are  compared  to  the  thrusting  in  of  the 
sickle,  when  the  harvest  is  rifle,  Rev.  xiv.  15.  And 
the  victorious  army,  like  the  careful  husbandmen 
in  the  valley  of  Rephaim,  where  the  corn  was  ex¬ 
traordinary,  would  nit,  if  they  could  help  it,  leave 
an  ear  behind,  would  lose  nothing  that  they  could 
lay  their  hands  on. 

6.  Yet  gleaning-grapes  shall  be  left  in  it, 
as  the  shaking  of  an  olive-tree,  two  or  three 
berries  in  the  top  of  the  uppermost  bough, 
four  or  five  in  the  outmost  fruitful  branches 
thereof,  saith  the  Loud  God  of  Israel.  7. 
At  that  day  shall  a  man  look  to  his  Maker, 
and  his  eyes  shall  have  respei  t  to  the  Holy 
One  of  Israel.  8.  And  he  shall  not  look  to 
the  altars,  the  work  of  his  hands,  neither 
shall  respect  that  which  his  fingers  have 
made,  either  the  groves  or  the  images. 

Mercy  is  here  reserved  in  a  parenthesis,  in  the 
midst  of  judgment,  for  a  remnant  that  should  escape 
the  common  ruin  of  the  kingdom  of  the  ten  tribes. 
Though  the  Assyrians  took  all  the  care  they  crukl 
that  none  should  slip  out  of  their  net,  yet  the  meek 
of  the  earth  were  hid  in  the  day  cf  the  Lord’s  an¬ 
ger,  and  had  their  lives  given  them  for  a  prey,  and 
made  comfortable  to  them  by  their  retirement  to 
the  land  of  Judah,  where  they  had  the  liberty  of 
God’s  courts. 

1.  They  shall  be  but  a  small  remnant,  a  very  few 
which  shall  be  marked  for  preservation;  (v.  6.) 
Gleaning-grafles  shall  be  left  in  it;  the  body  of  the 
people  were  carried  into  captivity,  but  here  and 
there  one  was  left  behind,  perhaps  one  of  two  in  a 
bed,  when  the  other  was  taken,  Luke  xvii.  34.  The 
most  desolating  judgments  in  this  world  are  short  of 
the  last  judgment,  which  shall  be  universal,  and 
which  none  shall  escape.  In  times  of  the  greatest 
calamity,  some  are  kept  safe,  as  in  times  of  the 
greatest  degeneracy  some  are  kept  pure.  But  the 
fewness  of  those  that  escape,  supposes  the  captivity 
of  the  far  greatest  part;  those  that  are  left,  are  but 
like  the  poor  remains  of  an  olive-tree,  when  it  has 
been  carefully  shaken  by  the  owner;  if  there  be  two 
or  three  berries  in  the  tofl  of  the  uflflermost  bough, 
(out  of  the  reach  of  them  that  shook  it,)  that  is  all. 
Such  is  the  remnant  according  to  the  election  of 
grace,  very  few  in  comparison  with  the  multitudes 
that  walk  on  in  the  broad  way. 

2.  They  shall  be  a  sanctified  remnant;  (v.  7,  8.) 
these  few  that  are  preserved,  are  such  as,  in  the 
prospect  of  the  judgment  approaching,  had  repent¬ 
ed  of  their  sins,  and  reformed  their  lives,  and  there¬ 
fore  were  snatched  thus  as  brands  r  ut  of  the  burn¬ 
ing;  or,  such  as,  being  escaped,  and  becoming  refu¬ 
gees  in  strange  countries,  were  awakened,  partly  by 
a  sense  of  the  distinguishing  mercy  of  their  deliver¬ 
ance,  and  partly  by  the  distresses  they  were  still  in, 
to  return  to  God.  (1.)  They  shall  look  up  to  their 
Creator,  shall  inquire,  Where  is  God  my  Maker , 
who  giveth  songs  in  the  night,  in  such  a  night  rf 
affliction  as  this?  Job  xxxv.  10,  11.  They  shall 
acknowledge  his  hand  in  all  the  events  concerning 
them,  merciful  and  afflictive,  and  shall  submit  to 
his  hand;  they  shall  give  him  the  glory  due  to  his 
name,  and  be  suitable  affected  with  his  providences; 
they  shall  expect  relief  and  succour  from  him,  and 
depend  upon  him  to  help  them;  their  eyes  shall  have 
respect  to  him,  as  the  eyes  of  a  servant  to  tne  henc 
of  his  master,  Vs.  cxxiii.  2.'  Observe,  It  is  our  dur 


88 


ISAIAH 

at  all  times  to  have  respect  to  God,  to  have  our  eyes  [ 
ever  toward  him,  both  as  our  Maker,  the  Author 
of  our  being,  and  the  God  of  nature,  and  as  the  Holy 
One  of  Israel,  a  God  in  covenant  with  us,  and  the 
God  of  grace;  particularly,  when  we  are  in  afflic¬ 
tion,  our  eyes  must  be  toward  the  Lord,  to  pluck 
our  feet  out  of  the  net;  (Ps.  xxv.  15.)  to  bring  us  to 
this  is  the  design  of  his  providence,  as  he  is  our 
Maker,  and  the  work  of  his  grace,  as  he  is  the  Holy 
One  of  Israel.  (2.)  They  shall  look  off  from  their 
idols,  the  creatures  of  their  own  fancy,  shall  no  lon¬ 
ger  worship  them,  and  seek  to  them,  and  expect 
relief  from  them.  For  God  will  be  alone  regarded, 
or  he  does  not  look  upon  himself  as  at  all  regarded. 
He  that  looks  to  his  Maker,  must  not  look  to  the 
altars,  the  work  of  his  hands,  but  disown  them  and 
cast  them  off;  must  not  retain  the  least  respect  for 
that  which  his  fingers  have  made,  but  break  it  to 
pieces,  though  it  were .  his  own  workmanship,  the 
groves  and  the  images;  the  word  signifies  images 
made  in  honour  of  the  sun,  and  by  which  he  was 
worshipped,  the  most  ancient  and  most  plausible 
idolatry,  Deut.  iv.  19.  Job  xxxi.  26.  We  have 
reason  to  account  those  happy  afflictions,  which  part 
between  us  and  our  sins,  and,  by  sensible  convic¬ 
tions  of  the  vanity  of  the  world,  that  great  idol,  cool 
our  affections  to  it,  and  lower  our  expectations 
from  it, 

9.  Iii  that  day  shall  his  strong  cities  be  as 
a  forsaken  bough,  and  an  uppermost  branch, 
which  they  left,  because  of  the  children  of 
Israel:  and  there  shall  be  desolation.  10. 
Because  thou  hast  forgotten  the  God  of  thy 
salvation,  and  hast  not  been  mindful  of  the 
Rock  of  thy  strength;  therefore  shait  thou 
plant  pleasant  plants,  and  shait  set  it  with 
strange  slips:  11.  In  that  day  shait  thou 
make  thy  plant  to  grow,  and  in  the  morning 
shait  thou  make  thy  seed  to  flourish ;  but  the 
harvest  shall  be  a  heap  in  the  day  of  grief 
and  of  desperate  sorrow. 

Here  the  prophet  returns  to  foretell  the  woful 
desolations  that  should  be  made  in  the  land  of  Israel 
by  the  army  of  the  Assyrians. 

1.  That  the  cities  should  be  deserted;  even  the 
strong  cities,  which  should  have  protected  the 
country,  shall  not  be  able  to  protect  themselves; 
they  shall  be  as  a  forsaken  bough,  and  an  upper¬ 
most  branch,  of  an  old  tree,  which  is  gone  to  decay, 
forsaken  of  its  leaves,  and  appears  on  the  top  of  the 
tree,  bare,  and  dry,  and  dead;  so  shall  their  strong 
cities  look,  when  the  inhabitants  have  deserted 
them,  and  the  victorious  army  of  the  enemy  pillaged 
and  defaced  them ;  (n.  9. )  they  shall  be  as  the  ci¬ 
ties  (so  it  may  be  supplied)  which  the  Canaanites 
left,  the  old  inhabitants  of  the  land,  because  of  the 
children  of  Israel,  when  God  brought  them  in  with 
a  high  hand,  to  take  possession  of  that  good  land, 
cities  which  they  budded  not  As  the  Canaanites 
then  fled  before  Israel,  so  Israel  should  now  fly  be¬ 
fore  the  Assyrians.  And  herein  the  word  of  God 
was  fulfilled,  that  if  they  committed  the  same 
abominations,  the  land  should  spue  them  out,  as  it 
spued  out  the  nations  that  were  before  them,  (Lev. 
xviii.  28.)  and  that  as,  while  they  had  God  on  their 
side,  one  of  them  chased  a  thousand,  so,  when  they 
had  made  him  their  Enemy,  a  thousand  of  them 
should  flee  at  the  rebuke  of  one;  so  that  in  the  cities 
should  be  desolation,  according  to  the  threatenings 
in  the  law,  Lev.  xxvi.  31.  Deut.  xxviii.  52. 

2.  That  the  country  should  be  laid  waste,  v.  10, 
11.  Observe  here,  (1.)  The  sin  that  had  provoked 
God  to  bring  so  great  a  destruction  upon  that  plea- 


,  XVII 

sant  land;  it  was  for  the  iniquity  of  them  that  dice., 
therein;  “  It  is  because  thou  hast  forgotten  the  Goa 
of  thy  salvation,  and  all  the  great  salvations  he  has 
wrought  for  thee,  hast  forgotten  thy  dependence 
upon  him  and  obligations  to  him,  and  hast  not  been 
mindfui  of  the  Hock  of  thy  strength,  not  i  nly  who 
is  himself  a  strong  Rock,  but  has  been  thy  Strength 
many  a  time,  or  thou  hadst  been  sunk  and  broken 
long  since.”  Note,  The  God  of  our  salvation  is  the 
Rock  of  our  strength;  and  our  forgetfulness  and  un¬ 
mindfulness  of  him  are  at  the  bottom  of  all  sin; 
therefore  we  have  perverted  our  way,  because  we 
have  forgotten  the  Lord  our  God,  and  so  we  undo 
ourselves.  (2.)  The  destruction  itself,  aggravated 
by  the  great  care  they  took  to  improve  their  land, 
and  to  make  it  vet  more  pleasant.  [1.]  Look  upon 
it  at  the  time  of  the  seedness,  and  it  was  all  like  a 
garden  and  a  vineyard;  that  pleasant  land  was  re¬ 
plenished  with  pleasant  plants,  the  choicest  of  its 
own  growth;  nay,  so  nice  and  curious  were  the  in¬ 
habitants,  that,  not  content  with  them,  they  sent  to 
all  the  neighbouring  countries  for  strange  slips,  the 
more  valuable  for  being  strange,  uncommon,  far¬ 
fetched,  and  dear-bought,  though  perhaps  they  had 
of  their  own  not  inferior  to  them.  This  was  an  in¬ 
stance  of  their  pride  and  vanity,  and  (that  ruining 
error)  their  affectation  to  be  like  the  nations.  Wheat, 
and  honey,  and  oil,  were  their  staple  commodities; 
(Ezek.  xxvii.  17.)  but  not  content  with  these,  they 
must  have  flowers  and  greens  with  strange  names 
imported  from  other  nations,  and  a  great  deal  c  f 
care  and  pains  must  be  taken  by  hot-beds  to  make 
these  plants  to  grow,  the  soil  must  be  forced,  and 
they  must  be  covered  with  glasses  to  shelter  them, 
and  early  in  the  morning  the  gardeners  must  be  up 
to  make  the  seed  to  flourish,  that  it  may  excel  those 
of  their  neighbours.  The  ornaments  of  nature  are 
not  to  be  altogether  slighted,  but  it  is  a  folly  to  be 
over-fond  of  them,  and  to  bestow  more  time,  and 
cost,  and  pains,  about  them  than  they  deserve,  as 
many  do.  But  here  this  instance  seems  to  be  put  in 
general  for  their  great  industry  in  cultivating  their 
ground,  and  their  expectations  from  it  accordingly; 
they  doubt  not  but  their  plants  will  grow  and  flour¬ 
ish.  But,  [2.]  Look  upon  the  same  ground  at  the 
time  of  harvest,  and  it  is  all  like  a  wilderness,  a  dis¬ 
mal  melancholy  place,  even  to  the  spectators,  much 
more  to  the  owners;  for  the  harvest  shall  be  a  heap, 
all  in  confusion,  in  the  day  of  grief  and  of  desperate 
sorrow.  The  harvest  used  to  be  a  time  of  joy,  of 
singing  and  shouting;  (ch.  xvi.  10.)  but  this  harvest 
the  hungry  eat  up,  (Job  v.  5.)  which  makes  it  a 
day  of  grief,  and  the  more,  because  the  plants  were 
pleasant  and  costly,  (v.  10.)  and  their  expectations 
proportionably  raised.  The  harvest  had  some¬ 
times  been  a  day  of  grief,  if  the  crop  were  thin,  and 
the  weather  unseasonable;  and  yet  in  that  case 
there  was  hope  that  the  next  would  be  better:  but 
this  shall  be  desperate  sorrow,  for  they  shall  see 
not  only  this  year’s  products  carried  off,  but  the 
property  of  the  ground  altered,  and  their  conquer¬ 
ors  lords  of  it.  The  margin  reads  it,  The  harvest 
shall  be  removed,  (into  the  enemy’s  country  or  camp, 
Deut.  xxviii.  33. )  in  the  day  of  inheritance,  (when 
thou  thoughtest  to  inherit  it,)  and  there  shall  be 
deadly  sorrow.  This  is  a  good  reason  why  we 
should  not  lay  up  our  treasure  in  these  things  which 
we  may  so  quickly  be  despoiled  of,  but  in  that  good 
part  which  shall  never  be  taken  away  from  us. 

12.  Wo  to  the  multitude  of  many  people, 
which  make  a  noise  like  the  noise  of  the 
seas ;  and  to  the  rushing  of  nations,  that 
make  a  rushing  like  the  rushing  of  mighty 
waters!  13.  The  nations  shall  rush  like  the 
rushing  of  many  waters:  but  God.  shall  re- 


ISAIAH,  XVIII. 


l»uke  them,  and  they  shall  flee  far  off,  and 
shall  be  chased  as  the  chaff  of  the  moun¬ 
tains  before  the  wind,  and  like  a  rolling 
tiling  before  the  whirlwind.  14.  And,  be¬ 
hold,  at  evening-tide  trouble ;  and  before  the 
morning  he  is  not.  This  is  the  portion  of 
them  that  spoil  us,  and  the  lot  of  them  that 
rob  us. 

These  verses  read  the  doom  of  those  that  spoil 
and  rob  the  people  of  God;  if  the  Assyrians  and  Is¬ 
raelites  invade  and  plunder  Judah — if  the  Assyrian 
army  take  God’s  people  captive,  and  lay  their 
country  waste,  let  them  know  that  ruin  will  be  their 
lot  and  portion. 

They  are  here  brought  in, 

1.  Triumphing  over  the  people  of  God.  They 
rely  upon  their  numbers;  the  Assyrian  army  was 
made  up  out  of  divers  nations,  it  is  the  multitude  of 
many  people,  (v.  12.)  by  which  weight  they  hope 
to  carry  the  cause;  they  are  very  noisy,  like  the 
roaring  of  the  seas;  they  talk  big,  hector  and 
threaten,  to  frighten  God’s  people  from  resisting 
them,  and  all  their  allies  from  sending  in  to  their 
aid.  Sennacherib  and  Rabshakeh,  in  their  speeches 
and  letters,  made  a  mighty  noise,  to  strike  a  terror 
upon  Hezekiah  and  his  people;  the  nations  that  fol¬ 
lowed  them,  made  a  rushing  like  the  rushing  of 
many  waters,  and  those  mighty  ones,  that  threaten 
to  bear  down  all  before  them,  and  carry  away  every 
thing  that  stands  in  their  way:  the  floods  have  lifted 
u/i  their  voice,  have  lifted  up.  their  waves ;  such  is 
the  tumult  of  the  people,  and  the  heathen,  when 
they  rage,  Ps.  ii.  1. — xciii.  3. 

2".  Triumphed  over  by  the  judgments  of  God. 
They  think  to  carry  their  point  by  dint  of  noise;  but 
wo  to  them,  (u.  12.)  for  he  shall  rebuke  them; 
God  shall,  one  whom  they  little  think  of,  have  no 
regard  to,  stand  in  no  awe  of;  he  shall  give  them  a 
check  with  an  invisible  hand,  and  then  they  shall 
flee  afar  off.  Sennacherib  and  Rabshakeh,  and  the 
remains  of  their  forces,  shall  run  away  in  a  fright, 
and  shall  be  chased  by  their  own  terrors,  as  the 
chaff  of  the  mountains  which  stand  bleak  before  the 
wind,  and  like  a  rolling  thing  before  the  whirlwind, 
like  thistle-down;  so  the  margin;  they  make  them¬ 
selves  as  chaff  before  the  wind,  (Ps.  xxxv.  5.)  and 
then  the  angel  of  the  Lord,  (as  it  follows  there,)  the 
same  angel  that  slew  many  of  them,  shall  chase  the 
rest  God  will  make  them  like  a  wheel,  or  rolling 
thing,  and  then  persecute  them  with  his  tempest,  and 
make  them  afraid  with  his  storm,  Ps.  lxxxiii.  13, 
IS.  Note,  God  can  dispirit  the  enemies  of  his 
church  when  they  are  most  courageous  and  confi¬ 
dent,  and  dissipate  them  when  they  seem  most 
closely  consolidated.  This  shall  be  done  suddenly; 
(?>.  14.)  At  evening-tide  they  are  veiy  troublesome, 
and  threaten  trouble  to  the  people  of  God;  but  be¬ 
fore  the  morning  he  is  not,  at  sleeping  time  they  are 
c  ist  into  a  deep  sleep,  Ps.  lxxvi.  5,  6.  It  was  in 
the  night  that  the  angel  routed  the  Assyrian  army. 
God  can  in  a  moment  break  the  power  of  his 
church’s  enemies,  then  when  it  appears  most  for¬ 
midable;  and  this  is  written  for  the  encouragement 
of  the  people  of  God  in  all  ages,  when  they  find 
th  mselves  an  unequal  match  for  their  enemies;  for 
th  s  is  the  portion  of  them  that  spoil  us,  they  shall 
th  mselves  be  spoiled.  God  will  plead  his  church’s 
cause;  and  they  that  meddle,  do  it  to  their  own  hurt. 

CHAP.  XVIII. 

Whatever  country  it  is  that  is  meant  here  by  the  land  sha¬ 
dowing  with  wings}  here  is  a  wo  denounced  against  it, 
for  God  has,  upon  his  people’s  account,  a  quarrel  with  it. 
I.  They  threaten  God’s  people,  v.  1,  2.  II.  All  the 
neighbours  are  hereupon  called  to  take  notice  what  will 
be  the  issue,  v.  3.  III.  Though  God  seem  unconcerned 

Vol.  iv.— M 


8D 

in  the  distress  of  his  people  for  a  time,  he  will  at  .ength 

appear  against  their  enemies,  and  will  remarkably  cut 

them  off,  v.  4.  .6.  IV.  This  shall  redound  very  much  to 

the  glory  of  God,  v.  7. 

1.  V%rO  to  the  land  shadowing  with 
▼  t  wings,  which  is  beyond  the  riv  ers 
of  Ethiopia :  2.  That  sendeth  ambassadors 
by  tiie  sea,  even  in  vessels  of  bulrushes  upon 
the  waters,  saying ,  Go,  ye  swift  messengers, 
to  a  nation  scattered  and  peeled,  to  a  peo¬ 
ple  terrible  from  their  beginning  hitherto;  a 
nation  meted  out  and  trodden  down,  whose 
land  the  rivers  have  spoiled!  3.  All  ye  in¬ 
habitants  of  the  world,  and  dwellers  on  the 
earth,  see  ye,  when  he  lifteth  up  an  ensign 
on  the  mountains;  and  when  he  bloweth  a 
trumpet,  hear  ye.  4.  For  so  the  Lord  said 
unto  me,  I  will  take  my  rest,  and  I  will  con¬ 
sider  in  my  dwelling-place  like  a  clear  heat 
upon  herbs,  and  like  a  cloud  of  dew  in  the 
heat  of  harvest.  5.  For  afore  the  harvest, 
when  the  hud  is  perfect,  and  the  sour  grape 
is  ripening  in  the  flower,  he  shall  both  cut 
off  the  sprigs  with  pruning-hooks,  and  take 
away  and  cut  down  the  branches.  6.  They 
shall  he  left  together  unto  the  fow  ls  of  the 
mountains,  and  to  the  beasts  of  the  earth: 
and  the  fowls  shall  summer  upon  them,  and 
all  the  beasts  of  the  earth  shall  winter  upon 
them.  7.  In  that  time  shall  the  present  he 
brought  unto  the  Lord  of  hosts  of  a  people 
scattered  and  peeled,  and  from  a  people  ter¬ 
rible  from  their  beginning  hitherto ;  a  nation 
meted  out  and  trodden  under  foot,  whose 
land  the  rivers  have  spoiled,  to  the  place  of 
the  name  of  the  Lord  of  hosts,  the  mount 
Zion. 

Interpreters  are  very  much  at  a  loss  where  to  find 
this  land  that  lies  beyond  the  rivers  of  Cush:  some 
take  it  to  be  Egypt,  a  maritime  country,  and  full  of 
rivers,  and  which  courted  Israel  to  depend  upon 
them,  but  proved  broken  reeds;  but  against  this  it 
is  strongly  objected,  that  the  next  chapter  is  distin¬ 
guished  from  this  by  the  title  of  the  burthen  of 
Egypt.  Others  take  it  to  be  Ethiopia,  and  read  it, 
which  lies  near,  or  about,  the  rivers  of  Ethiopia,  not 
that  in  Africa,  which  lay  in  the  south  of  Egypt,  but 
that  which  we  call  Arabia,  which  lav  east  of  Ca¬ 
naan,  which  Tirhakah  was  now  king  of.  He  thought 
to  protect  the  Jews,  as  it  were,  under  the  shadow  of 
his  wings,  by  giving  a  powerful  diversion  to  the  king 
of  Assyria,  when  he  made  a  descent  upon  his  coun¬ 
try,  at  the  time  that  he  was  attacking  Jerusalem,  2 
Kings  xix.  9.  But,  though  by  his  ambassadors  he 
bid  defiance  to  the  king  of  Assyria,  and  encouraged 
the  Jews  to  depend  upon  him,  God,  by  the  prophet, 
slights  him,  and  will  not  go  forth  with  him;  he  may 
take  his  own  course,  but  God  will  take  another 
course  to  protect  Jerusalem,  while  he  suffers  the 
attempt  of  Tirhakah  to  miscarry,  and  his  Arabian 
army  to  be  ruined;  for  the  Assyrian  shall  become  a 
present  or  sacrifice  to  the  Lord  of  hosts,  and  to  the 
place  of  his  name,  by  the  hand  of  an  angel,  not  by 
the  hand  of  Tirhakah  king  of  Ethiopia,  v.  7  This 
1  is  a  very  probable  exposition  of  this  chapter. 

But  from  a  hint  of  Dr.  Lightfort’s  in  his  Harmo- 
i;  ny  of  the  Old  Testament,  I  incline  to  understand  this 


90 


ISAIAH,  XVIII. 


chapter  as  a  prophecy  against  Assyria ;  and  so  a 
r.nntinu  ition  ot  the  prophecy  in  the  three  last  verses 
of  tire  foregoing  chapter,  with  which  therefore  this 
should  be  joined.  That  was  against  the  army  of 
the  Assyrians,  which  rushed  in  upon  Judah,  this 
against  the  land  of  Assyria  itself,  which  lay  beyond 
the  rivers  of  Arabia,  the  rivers  of  Euphrates  and 
Tigris,  which  bordered  on  Arabia  Deserta.  And 
in  calling  it  the  land  shadowing  with  wings,  he 
seems  to  refer  to  what  he  himself  had  said  of  it,  ( ch . 
viii.  8.)  that  the  stretching  out  of  his  wings  shall  Jill 
thy  land,  O  Immanuel.  The  prophet  might  per¬ 
haps  describe  the  Assyrians  by  such  dark  expres¬ 
sions,  not  naming  them,  for  the  same  reason  that 
St.  Paul,  in  his  prophecy,  speaks  of  the  Roman  em¬ 
pire  by  a  periphrasis,  fie  who  now  lelteth,  2  Thess. 
li.  7.  Here  is, 

I.  l'he  attempt  made  by  this  land  (whatever  it  is) 
upon  a  nation  scattered  and  fieeled,  v.  2.  Swift 
messengers  are  sent  by  water  to  proclaim  war 
against  them,  as  a  nation  marked  by  Providence, 
and  meted  out,  to  be  trodden  under  foot.  Whether 
this  be  the  Ethiopians  waging  war  with  the  Assy¬ 
rians,  or  the  Assyrians  with  Judah,  it  teaches  us,  1. 
That  a  people  which  have  been  terrible  from  their 
beginning,  have  made  a  figure,  and  borne  a  mighty 
sway,  may  yet  become  scattered  and  peeled,  and 
mav  be  spoiled  even  by  their  own  rivers  that  should 
enrich  both  the  husbandman  and  the  merchant. 
Nations  which  have  been  formidable,  and  have 
kept  all  in  awe  about  them,  may,  by  a  concurrence 
of  accidents,  become  despicable,  and  an  easy  prey 
to  their  insulting  neighbours.  2.  Princes  and  states 
that  are  ambitious  of  enlarging  their  territories,  will 
still  have  some  pretence  or  other  to  quarrel  with 
those  whose  countries  they  have  a  mind  to;  “  It  is 
a  nation  that  has  been  terrible,  and  therefore  we 
must  be  revenged  on  it;  it  is  now  a  nation  scattered 
and  peeled,  meted  out  and  trodden  down,  and  there¬ 
fore  it  will  be  an  easy  prey  for  us.”  Perhaps  it  is 
not  brought  so  low  as  they  represent  it.  God’s»peo- 
ple  are  trampled  on  as  a  nation  scattered  and  peel¬ 
ed,  but  whoever  think  to  swallow  them  up,  find 
them  still  as  terrible  as  they  have  been  from  their 
beginning;  they  are  cast  down,  but  not  deserted, 
not  destroyed. 

II.  The  alarm  sounded  to  the  nations  about,  by 
which  they  are  summoned  to  take  notice  of  what 
God  is  about  to  do,  i’.  3.  The  Ethiopians  and  As¬ 
syrians  have  their  counsels  and  designs,  which  they 
have  laid  deep,  and  promise  themselves  much  from, 
and,  in  prosecution  of  them,  send  their  ambassadors 
and  messengers  from  place  to  place;  but  let  us  now 
inquire  what  the  great  God  says  to  all  this:  1.  He 
lifts  ufi  an  ensign  upon  the  mountains,  and  blows  a 
trumpet,  by  which  he  proclaims  war  against  the 
enemies  of  his  church,  and  calls  in  all  her  friends 
and  well-wishers  into  her  service.  He  gives  notice 
that  he  is  about  to  do  some  great  work,  as  Lord  of 
hosts.  2.  All  the  world  is  bid  to  take  notice  of  it; 
all  the  dwellers  on  earth  must  see  the  ensign,  and 
hear  the  trumpet,  must  observe  the  motions  of  the 
Divine  Providence,  and  attend  the  directions  of  the 
divine  will.  Let  all  enlist  under  God’s  banner, 
and  be  on  his  side,  and  hearken  to  the  trumpet  of 
his  word,  which  gives  not  an  uncertain  sound. 

III.  The  assurance  God  gives  to  his  prophet, by  him 
to  bi  given  to  his  people;  though  he  might  seem  for 
a  time  to  sit  by  as  an  unconcerned  spectator,  yet  he 
would  certainly  and  seasonably  appear  for  the  com¬ 
fort  of  his  people,  and  the  confusion  of  his  and  their 
enemies;  (v.  4.)  So  the  Lord  said  unto  me.  Men  will 
nave  their  saying,  but  God  also  will  have  his;  and 
as  we  may  be  sure  his  word  shall  stand,  so  he  often 
whispers  it  in  the  ears  of  his  servants  the  prophets. 
When  he  says,  “I  will  take  my  rest,”  it  is  not  as 
f  he  were  weary  of  governing  the  world,  or  as  if 


he  either  needed  or  desired  to  retire  from  it.  and 
repose  himself;  but  t  intimates  1.  That  the  great 
God  has  a  perfect,  u  odisturbed,  enjoyment  of  him¬ 
self,  in  the  midst  of  all  the  tosses  and  changes  <1 
this  world;  the  Lord  sits  even  upon  the  floods  un¬ 
shaken;  the  Eternal  Mind  is  always  easy.  2.  That 
sometimes  he  may  seem  to  his  people  as  if  he  tor  k 
not  wonted  notice  of  what  is  done  in  this  lower  world ; 
they  are  tempted  to  think  he  is  as  one  asleep,  or  as 
one  astonished;  (Ps.  xliv.  23.  Jer.  xiv.  9.)  but  evtn 
then  he  knows  very  well  what  men  do,  and  what  he 
himself  will  do. 

(1.)  He  will  take  care  of  his  people,  and  be  a  Shel¬ 
ter  to  them;  he  will  regard  his  dwelling-place, his  eye 
and  his  heart  are,  and  shall  be,  upon  it  for  gor  d  conti¬ 
nually.  Zion  is  his  rest  forever,  where  he  will  dwed; 
and  he  will  look  after  it;  so  some  read  it;  he  will  lift 
up  the  light  of  his  countenance  upon  it,  will  consi¬ 
der  over  it  what  is  to  be  done,  and  will  be  sure  to  do 
all  for  the  best;  he  will  adapt  the  comforts  and  re¬ 
freshments  he  provides  for  them,  to  the  exigencies 
of  their  case;  and  they  will  therefore  be  acceptable, 
because  seasonable.  [1.]  Like  a  clear  heat  after 
rain,  (so  the  margin,)  which  is  very  reviving  and 
pleasant,  and  makes  the  herbs  to  flourish.  [2.] 
Like  a  dew  and  a  cloud  in  the  heat  of  harvest,  which 
are  very  welcome,  the  dew  to  the  ground,  and  the 
cloud  to  the  labourers.  Note,  There  is  that  in 
God,  which  is  a  shelter  and  refreshment  to  his 
people  in  all  weathers,  and  arms  them  against  the 
inconveniencies  of  every  change.  Is  the  weathci 
cooli1  There  is  that  in  his  favour,  which  will  warm 
them.  Is  it  hot?  There  is  that  in  his  faveur,  which 
will  cool  them.  Great  men  have  their  winter-house 
and  their  summer-house;  (Amos  iii.  15.)  but  they 
that  are  at  home  with  God,  have  both  in  him. 

(2.)  He  will  reckon  with  his  and  their  enemies, 
v.  5,  6.  When  the  Assyrian  army  promises  itself 
a  plentiful  harvest  in  the  taking  of  Jerusali  m,  and 
the  plundering  of  that  rich  city,  when  the  bud  of 
that  project  is  perfect,  before  the  harvest  is  gather¬ 
ed  in,  while  the  sour  grape  of  their  enmity  to  He- 
zekiah  and  his  people  is  ripening  in  the  flower,  and 
the  design  is  just  ready  to  put  in  execution,  God 
shall  destroy  that  army  as  easily  as  the  husbandman 
cuts  off  the  sprigs  of  the  vine  with  pruning-hooks, 
or,  because  the  grape  is  sour,  and  good  for  nothing, 
and  will  not  be  cured,  takes  away,  and  cuts  down, 
the  branches.  This  seems  to  point  at  the  overthrow 
of  the  Assyrian  army  by  a  destroying  angel;  when 
the  dead  bodies  of  the  soldiers  were  scattered  like 
the  branches  and  sprigs  of  a  wild  vine,  which  the 
husbandman  has  cut  to  pieces.  And  they  shall  be 
left  to  the  fowls  of  the  mountains,  and  'the  beasts  of 
the  earth,  to  prey  upon,  both  winter  and  summer; 
for  as  God’s  people  are  protected  all  seasons  of  the 
year,  both  in  cold  and  heat,  (i>.  4.)  so  their  ene  mies 
are  at  all  seasons  exposed;  birds  and  beasts  of  prey 
shall  both  summer  and  winter  upon  them,  till  they 
are  quite  ruined. 

IV.  The  tribute  of  praise  which  should  be  brought 
to  God  from  all  this,  v.  7.  In  that  time,  when  this 
shall  be  accomplished,  shall  the  present  be  brought 
unto  the  Lord  of  hosts.  1.  Some  understand  this  cf 
the  conversion  of  the  Ethiopians  to  the  faith  rf 
Christ  in  the  latter  days;  of  which  we  have  the  spe¬ 
cimen  and  beginning  in  Philip’s  baptizing  the  Ethi¬ 
opian  eunuch,  Acts  viii.  27.  They  that  were  a  peo¬ 
ple  scattered  and  peeled,  meted  out,  and  trodden 
down,  (v.  2.)  shall  be  a  present  to  the  Lord;  and 
though  they  seem  useless  and  worthless,  they  shall 
be  an  acceptable  present  to  him  who  judges  of  men 
by  the  sincerity  of  their  faith  and  love,  net  bv  the 
pomp  and  presperity  of  their  outward  condition. 
Therefore  the  gospel  was  ministered  to  the  Gen 
tiles,  that  the  offering  up  of  the  Gentiles  might  be 
acceptable,  Rom.  xv.  16.  It  is  prophesied  (P* 


91 


TSAIAH,  XIX. 


Ixviii.  31 .  j  that  Ethiopia  should  soon  stretch  out  her 
hands  unto  God.  2.  Others  understand  it  of  the 
spoil  of  Sennacherib’s  army,  out  of  which,  as  usual, 
presents  were  brought  to  the  Lord  of  hosts.  Numb, 
xxxi.  59.  It  was  the  present  of  a  people  scattered 
and  peeled.  (1.)  It  was  won  from  the  Assyrians, 
who  were  now  themselves  reduced  to  such  a  condi¬ 
tion  as  they  scornfully  described  Judah  to  be  in,  v. 
1.  They  that  unjustly  trample  upon  others,  shall 
themselves  be  justly  trampled  upon.  (2.)  It  was  of¬ 
fered  by  the  people  of  God,  who  were,  m  disdain, 
called  a  people  scattered  and  peeled.  God  will  put 
honour  upon  his  people,  though  men  put  contempt 
upon  them.  Lastly,  Observe,  the  present  that  is 
brought  to  the  Lord  of  hosts,  must  be  brought  to  the 
place  of  the  name  of  the  Lord  of  hosts;  what  is  offer¬ 
ed  to  God,  must  be  offered  in  the  way  that  he  has  ap¬ 
pointed;  we  must  be  sure  to  attend  him,  and  expect 
him  to  meet  us,  there  where  he  records  his  name. 

CHAP.  XIX. 

As  Assyria  was  a  breaking  rod  to  Judah,  with  which  it  was 
smitten,  so  Egypt  was  a  broken  reed,  with  which  it  was 
cheated;  and  therefore  God  had  a  quarrel  with  them 
both.  We  have  before  read  the  doom  of  the  Assyrians, 
now  here  we  have  the  burthen  of  Egypt,  a  prophecy  con¬ 
cerning  that  nation;  1.  That  it  should  be  greatly  weak¬ 
ened  and  brought  low,  and  should  be  as  contemptible 
among  the  nations  as  now  it  was  considerable,  rendered 
so  by  a  complication  of  judgments  which  God  would 
bring  upon  them,  v.  1 . .  17.  II.  That  at  length  God’s 
'ioly  religion  should  be  brought  into  Egypt,  and  set  up 
there,  in  part  by  the  Jews  that  should  fly  thither  for  re¬ 
fuge,  but  more"  fully  by  the  preachers  of  the  gospel  of 
Christ,  through  whose  ministry  churches  should  be  plant¬ 
ed  in  Egypt  in  the  days  of  the  Messiah,  (v.  18..  25.) 
which  would  abundantly  balance  all  the  calamities  here 
threatened. 

1.  f'  lnHE  burden  of  Egypt.  Behold,  the 
JL  Lord  rideth  upon  a  swift  cloud,  and 
shall  come  into  Egypt;  and  the  idols  of 
Egypt  shall  be  moved  at  his  presence,  and 
the  heart  of  Egypt  shall  ‘melt  in  the  midst 
of  it.  2.  And  I  will  set  the  Egyptians  against 
the  Egyptians :  and  they  shall  fight  every 
one  against  his  brother,  and  every  one 
against  his  neighbour;  city  against  city, 
and  kingdom  against  kingdom.  3.  And  the 
spirit  of  Egypt  shall  fail  in  the  midst  there¬ 
of;  and  I  will  destroy  the  counsel  thereof : 
and  they  shall  seek  to  the  idols,  and  to  the 
charmers,  and  to  them  that  have  familiar 
spirits,  and  to  the  wizards.  4.  And  the 
Egyptians  will  I  give  over  into  the  hand  of 
a  cruel  lord ;  and  a  fierce  ’king  shall  rule 
over  them,saith  the  Lord,  the  LoRDof  hosts. 

5.  And  the  waters  shall  fail  from  the  sea, 
and  the  river  shall  be  wasted  and  dried  up. 

6.  And  they  shall  turn  the  rivers  far  away, 
and  the  brooks  of  defence  shall  be  emptied 
and  dried  up :  the  reeds  and  flags  shall  wi¬ 
ther.  7.  The  paper-reeds  by  the  brooks,  by 
the  mouth  of  the  brooks,  and  every  thing 
sown  by  the  brooks,  shall  wither,  be  driven 
away,  and  be  no  more.  8.  The  fishers  also 
shall  mourn,  and  all  they  that  cast  angle 
into  the  brooks,  shall  lament,  and  they  that 
spread  nets  upon  the  waters  shall  languish. 
9.  Moreover,  they  that  work  in  fine  flax, 


and  weave  net-works,  shall  be  confounded. 
10.  And  they  shall  be  broken  in  the  purposes 
thereof,  all  that  make  sluices  and  ponds  for 
fish.  1 1 .  Surely  the  princesof  Zoan  are  fools, 
the  counsel  of  the  wise  counsellors  of  Pha¬ 
raoh  is  become  brutish :  how  say  ye  unto 
Pharaoh,  I  am  the  son  of  the  wise,  the  son 
of  ancient  kings?  12.  Where«re  they?  where 
are  thy  wise  men?  and  let  them  tell  thee 
now,  and  let  them  know  what  the  Lord  of 
hosts  hath  purposed  upon  Egypt.  13.  The 
princes  of  Zoan  are  become  fools,  the  prin¬ 
ces  of  Noph  are  deceived;  they  have  also 
seduced  Egypt,  even  they  that  are  the  staj 
of  the  tribes  thereof.  14.  The  Lord  hath 
mingled  a  perverse  spirit  in  the  midst  there¬ 
of  :  and  they  have  caused  Egypt  to  err  in 
every  work  thereof,  as  a  drunken  man  stag- 
gereth  in  his  vomit.  1 5.  Neither'shall  there 
be  any  work  for  Egypt,  which  the  head  or 
tail,  branch  or  rush,  may  do.  16.  In  that 
day  shall  Egypt  be  like  unto  women  ;  and 
it  shall  be  afraid  and  fear,  because  of  the 
shaking  of  the  hand  of  the  Lord  of  hosts, 
which  he  shaketh  over  it.  1 7.  And  the  land 
of  Judah  shall  be  a  terror  unto  Egypt :  every 
one  that  maketh  mention  thereof  shall  be 
afraid  in  himself,  because  of  the  counsel  of 
the  Lord  of  hosts,  which  he  hath  deter¬ 
mined  against  it. 

Though  the  land  of  Egypt  had  of  old  been  a  house 
of  bondage  to  the  people  of  God,  where  they  had 
been  ruled  with  rigour,  yet  among  the  unbelieving 
Jews  there  still  remained  much  of  the  humour  of 
their  fathers,  who  said,  Let  us  make  a  captain,  and 
return  into  Egypt.  Upon  all  occasions  they  trusted 
to  Egypt  for  help,  ( cti .  xxx.  2.)  and  thither  they 
fled,  in  disobedience  to  God’s  express  command, 
when  things  were  brought  to  the  last  extremity  in 
their  own  country,  Jer.  xliii.  7.  Rabshakeh  up¬ 
braided  Hezekiah  with  this,  ch.  xxxvi.  6.  While 
they  kept  up  an  alliance  with  Egypt,  and  it  was  a 
powerful  ally,  they  stood  not  in  awe  of  the  judg¬ 
ments  of  God ;  for  against  them  they  depended  upon 
Egypt  to  protect  them.  Nor  did  they  depend  upon 
the  power  of  God,  when  at  any  time  they  were  in 
distress;  but  Egypt  was  their  confidence.  To  pre¬ 
vent  all  this  mischief,  Egypt  must  be  mortified, 
and  many  ways  God  here  tells  them  he  will  take  to 
do  it. 

I.  The  gods  of  Egypt  shall  appear  to  them  to  be 
what  they  always  really  were,  utterly  unable  to  help 
them;  (v.  1.)  The  Lord  rides  upon  a  cloud,  a  swift 
cloud,  and  shall  come  into  Egypt!  as  a  judge  goes 
in  state  to  the  bench  to  try  and  condemn  the  male¬ 
factors,  or  as  a  general  takes  the  field  with  his  troops 
to  crush  the  rebels,  so  shall  God  come  into  Egypt 
with  his  judgments;  and  when  he  comes,  he  will 
certainly  overcome.  In  all  this  burthen  of  Egypt 
here  is  ne  mention  of  any  foreign  enemy  invading 
them;  but  God  himself  will  come  against  them,  and 
raise  up  the  causes  of  their  destruction  from  among 
themselves.  He  comes  upon  a  cloud,  above  the 
reach  of  opposition  or  resistance.  He  comes  apace, 
upon  a  swift  cloud;  for  tin  ir  judgment  lingers  not, 
when  the  time  is  come.  He  rides  upon  the  wings 
of  the  wind,  and  far  excelling  the  greatest  pomp 
and  splendour  of  earthly  princes;  he  makes  the  clouds 


99 


ISAIAH,  XIX. 


his  chariots,  Ps.  xvm.  9. — civ.  3.  When  he  comes,  j 
l  he  idols  of  Egypt  shall  be  moved,  sh:dl  be  removed, 
.n  his  presence,  and  perhaps  be  made  to  fall,  as 
D.igon  did  before  the  ark.  Isis,  Osiris,  and  Apis, 
those  celebrated  idols  of  Egypt,  being  found  unable 
to  relieve  their  worshippers,  shall  be  disowned  and 
rejected  by  them.  Idolatry  had  got  deeper  rooting 
in  Egypt  than  in  any  land  besides,  even  the  most 
absurd  idolatries;  and  yet  now  the  idols  shall  be 
moved,  and  they  shall  be  ashamed  of  them.  When 
the  Lord  brought  Israel  out  of  Egypt,  he  executed 
judgments  upon  the  gods  of  the  Egyptians;  (Numb, 
xxxiii.  4.)  no  marvel  then  if,  when  he  comes,  they 
begin  to  tremble.  The  Egyptians  shall  seek  to  the 
idols,  when  they  are  at  their  wits’  end,  and  consult 
the  charmers  and  wizards;  (x>.  3.)  but  all  in  vain; 
they  see  their  ruin  hastening  on  them  notwith¬ 
standing. 

II.  The  militia  of  Egypt,  that  had  been  famed 
for  their  valour,  shall  be  quite  dispirited  and  dis¬ 
heartened.  No  kingdom  in  the  world  was  ever  in 
a  better  method  of  keeping  up  a  standing  army  than 
the  Egyptians  were;  but  now  their  heroes,  that  used 
to  be  celebrated  for  courage,  shall  be  posted  for 
cowards;  the  'heart  of  Egypt  shall  melt  in  the  midst 
of  it,  like  wax  before  the  tire;  ( v .  1.)  the  spirit  of 
Egypt  shall  fail,  (y.  3.)  They  shall  have  no  inclina¬ 
tion,  no  resolution,  to  stand  up  in  defence  of  their 
country,  their  liberty,  their  property;  but  shall  j 
tamely  and  ingloriouslv  yield  all  to  the  invader  and 
oppressor;  The  Egyptians  shall  be  like  women; 
(y.  16.)  they  shall  be  frightened,  and  put  into  con¬ 
tusion,  by  the  least  alarm;  even  those  that  dwelt  in 
the  heart  of  the  country,  in  the  midst  of  it,  and 
therefore  furthest  from  danger,  will  be  as  full  of 
frights  as  those  that  are  situate  on  the  frontier.  Let 
not  the  bold  and  brave  be  proud  or  secure,  for 
God  can  easily  cut  off  the  spirit  of  princes,  (Ps. 
lxxvi.  12.)  and  take  away  their  hearts,  lob  xii.  24. 

III.  The  Egyptians  shall  be  embroiled  in  endless 
dissensions  and  quarrels  among  themselves.  There 
shall  be  no  occasion  to  bring  a  foreign  force  upon 
them  to  destny  them,  they  shall  destroy  one  ano¬ 
ther;  {y.  2.)  /  will  set  the  Egyptians  against  the 
Egyptians.  As  these  divisions  and  animosities  are 
their  sin,  God  is  not  the  Author  of  them,  they  come 
from  men’s  lusts;  but  God,  as  a  Judge,  permits 
them  for  their  punishment,  and  by  their  destroying 
differences  corrects  them  for  their  sinful  agree¬ 
ments.  Instead  of  helping  one  another,  and  acting 
each  in  his  place  for  the  common  good,  they  shall 
fight  every  one  against  his  brother  and  neighbour, 
whom  he  ought  to  love  as  himself;  city  against  city, 
and  kingdom  against  kingdom.  Egypt  was  then 
divided  into  twelve  provinces,  or  dynasties;  but 
Psammetichus,  the  governor  of  one  of  them,  by  set¬ 
ting  them  it  variance  with  one  another,  at  length 
made  himself  master  of  them  all.  A  kingdom,  thus 
divided  against  itself,  would  soon  be  brought  to  deso¬ 
lation.  En  quo  discordia  civis  perduxit  miseros! 
— 0  the  wretchedness  brought  upon  a  people  by  their 
disagreements  among  themselves!  It  is  brought  to 
this  by  a  perverse  spirit,  a  spirit  of  contradiction, 
which  the  Lord  would  mingle  as  an  intoxicating 
draught  made  up  of  several  ingredients,  for  the 
Egyptians,  x».  14.  One  party  shall  be  for  a  thing, 
for  no  other  reason  than  because  the  other  is  against 
it;  that  is  a  perverse  spirit,  which,  if  it  mingle  with 
the  public  counsels,  tends  directly  to  the  ruin  of  the 
public  interests. 

IV.  Their  politics  shall  be  all  blasted,  and  turned 
into  foolishness;  when  God  will  destroy  the  nation, 
lie  will  destroy  the  counsel  thereof,  ( v .  3.)  by  taking 
away  wisdom  from  the  statesmen,  (Job  xii.  20.)  or 
setting  them  one  against  another,  as  Hushai  and 
Ahithophel,  or,  by  his  providence,  breaking  their 
measures  even  then  when  they  seemed  well  laid;  so 


that  the  princes  of  Zoan  are  fools,  they  make  fools 
of  one  another,  every  one  betrays  his  own  folly,  and 
Divine  Providence  makes  fools  of  them  all,  x'.  11. 
Pharaoh  had  his  wise  counsellors,  Egypt  was  fa 
mous  for  such;  but  their  counsel  is  all  become  bru¬ 
tish,  they  have  lost  all  their  forecast,  one  would 
think  they  were  become  idiots,  and  were  bereavt  d 
of  common  sense.  Let  no  man  glory  then  in  his 
own  wisdom,  nor  depend  upon  that,  cr  upon  the 
wisdom  of  those  about  him;  for  he  that  gives  under¬ 
standing,  can,  when  he  pleases,  take  it  away.  And 
from  them  it  is  most  likely  to  be  taken  away,  that 
boast  of  their  policy,  as  Pharaoh’s  c<  unsellors  heie 
did,  and,  to  recommend  themselves  to  places  <  i 
public  trust,  boast  of  their  great  unde  rstanding.  “  1 
am  the  son  of  the  wise,  of  the  God  of  wisdom,  of 
wisdom  itself,”  says  one;  “My  father  was  an  emi¬ 
nent  privy-counsellor  of  note,  in  his  day,  for  wis¬ 
dom:  ’  or  of  the  antiquity  and  dignity  cf  their  fami¬ 
lies;  “I  am”  (says  another)  “the  son  of  ancient 
kings.”  The  nohlesof  Egypt  boasted  much  of  their 
antiquity,  producing  fabulous  records  of  their  suc¬ 
cession  for  above  10,000  years.  This  humour  pre¬ 
vailed  much  among  them  about  this  time,  as  ap¬ 
pears  by  Herodotus;  their  common  boast  being,  that 
Egypt  was  some  thousands  of  years  more  ancient 
than  any  other  nation.  “  But  where  are  thy  wist 
men?  (x).  12.)  Let  them  now  show  their  wisdom 
by  foreseeing  what  ruin  is  coming  upon  their  nation, 
and  preventing  it,  if  they  can.  Let  them  with  all 
their  skill  know  what  the  Lord  of  hosts  has  purposea 
upon  Egypt,  and  arm  themselves  accordingly. 
Nay,  so  far  are  they  from  doing  this,  that  they 
themselves  are,  in  effect,  contriving  the  ruin  of 
Egypt,  and  hastening  it  on,  v.  13.  The  princes  of 
Noph  are  not  only  deceived  themselves,  but  they 
have  seduced  Egypt,  by  putting  their  kings  upon 
arbitrary  proceedings:”  (by  which  both  themselves 
and  their  people  were  soon  undone;)  “  the  governors 
of  Egypt,  that  are  the  stay  and  corner-stones  of  the 
tribes  thereof,  are  themselves  undermining  it.”  It 
is  sad  with  a  people  when  those  that  undertake  for 
their  safety  are  helping  forward  their  destruction, 
and  the  physicians  of  the  state  are  her  worst  dis¬ 
ease;  when  the  things  that  belong  to  the  public 
peace,  are  so  far  hid  from  the  eyes  of  those  that  are 
entrusted  with  the  public  counsels,  that  in  every 
thing  they  blunder,  and  take  wrong  measures;  so 
here,  (x\  14.)  They  have  caused  Egypt  to  err  in 
every  work  thereof;  every  step  they  took,  was  a 
false  step ;  they  always  mistook  either  the  end  or  the 
means,  and  their  counsels  were  all  unsteady  and  un¬ 
certain,  like  the  staggerings  and  stammerings  of  a 
drunken  man  in  his  vomit,  who  knows  not  what  he 
says,  nor  where  he  goes.  Sec  what  reason  we  have 
to  pray  for  our  privy-counsellors  and  ministers  of 
state,  who  are  the  great  supports  and  blessings  of  the 
state,  if  God  give  them  a  spirit  of  wisdom,  but  quite 
contrary,  if  he  hide  their  heart  from  understanding. 

V.  The  rod  of  government  shall  be  turned  info 
the  serpent  of  tyranny  and  oppression;  [v.  A.)  '•  The 
Egyptians  will  I  give  over  into  the  hand  of  a  cruel 
lord;  not  a  foreigner,  but  one  of  their  ow’n,  one  that 
shall  rule  over  them  by  an  hereditary  right,  but 
shall  be  a  fierce  king,  and  rule  them  with  rigour:” 
either  the  twelve  tyrants  that  succeeded  Sethon,  or 
rather  Psammetichus  that  recovered  the  monarchy 
again;  for  he  speaks  of  one  cruel  lord.  Now  the 
barbarous  usage  which  the  Egyptian  taskmaster:- 
gave  to  God’s  Israel  long  ago,  was  remembered 
against  them,  and  they  were  paid  in  their  own  coil: 
by  another  Pharaoh.  It  is  sad  with  a  people  when 
the  powers  that  should  be  for  edification  are  foi 
destruction,  and  they  are  ruined  by  those  by  whom 
they  should  be  ruled,  when  such  as  this  is  the  man¬ 
ner  of  the  king;  as  it  is  described,  in  terrorem — in 
order  to  impress  alarm.  1  Sam.  viii  11. 


93 


ISAIAH 

VI.  Egypt  was  famous  for  its  river  Nile,  which 
was  its  wealth,  an  1  strength,  and  beauty,  and  was 
id  ilized  by  them.  Now  it  is  here  threatened,  that 
the  ■waters  shall  fail  from  the  sea,  and  the  river  shall 
be  wasted  and  dried  up,  v.  5.  Nature  shall  not 
herein  favour  them  as  she  has  done.  Egypt  was 
never  watered  with  the  rain  of  heaven,  (Zech.  xiv. 
18. )  and  therefore  the  fruitfulness  of  their  country 
depended  wholly  upon  the  overflowing  of  their  river; 
it  rh.it  therefore  be  dried  up,  their  fruitful  land  will 
so  in  be  turned  into  barrenness,  and  their  harvests 
cease;  Every  thing  sown  by  the  brooks  will  wither 
of  course,  will  be  driven  away,  and  be.  no  more,  v. 

7.  If  the  paper-reeds  by  the  brooks,  at  the  very 
mouth  of  them,  wither,  much  more  the  corn,  which 
lies  at  a  greater  distanc  ,  but  derives  its  moisture 
from  them.  Yet  this  is  not  all;  the  drying  up  of 
their  rivers  is  the  destruction,  1.  Of  their  fortifica¬ 
tions,  for  they  are  brooks  of  defence,  (t.  6. )  making 
the  country  difficult  of  access  to  an  enemy;  deep 
rivers  are  the  strongest  lines,  and  most  hardly 
forced.  Pharaoh  is  said  to  be  a  great  dragon  lying 
in  the  midst  of  his  rivers,  and  guarded  by  them, 
bidding  defiance  to  all  about  him,  Ezek.  xxix.  3. 
But  these  shall  be  emptied  and  dried  up,  not  by  an 
enemy,  as  Sennacherib  with  the  sole  of  his  foot 
dried  up  mighty  rivers,  (c/i.  xxxvii.  25.)  and  as  Cy¬ 
rus,  who  took  Babylon  by  drawing  Euphrates  into 
many  streams,  but  by  the  providence  of  God,  which 
sometimes  turns  water-springs  into  dry  ground, 
Ps.  evii.  33.  2.  It  is  the  destruction  of  their  fish, 

which  in  Egypt  was  much  of  their  food,  witness  that 
base  reflection  which  the  children  of  Israel  made, 
(Numb.  xi.  5.)  We  remember  the  fish  which  we  did 
eat  in  Egypt  freely.  The  drying  up  of  the  rivers 
will  kill  the  fish,  (Ps.  cv.  29.)  and  that  will  ruin 
those  who  make  it  their  business,  (1.)  to  catch  fish, 
whether  by  angling  or  nets;  (v.  8.)  they  shall  la¬ 
ment  and  languish,  for  their  trade  is  at  an  end. 
There  is  nothing  which  the  children  of  this  world 
do  more  heartily  lament,  than  the  loss  of  that  which 
they  used  to  get  money  by:  Ploratur  lacrymis  am- 
issa  pecunia  veris — Those  are  genuine  tears,  which 
are  shed  over  lost  money.  (2.)  To  keep  fish,  that 
it  may  be  ready  when  it  is  called  for.  There  were 
those  that  made  sluices  and  ponds  for  fsh,  (v.  10.) 
but  they  shall  be  broken  in  the  purposes  thereof; 
their  business  will  fail,  either  for  want  of  water  to 
fill  their  ponds,  or  for  want  of  fish  to  replenish  their 
water's.  God  can  find  ways  to  deprive  a  country 
even  of  that  which  is  its  staple  commodity.  The 
Egyptians  may'  themselves  remember  the  fish  they 
have  formerly  eaten  freely,  but  now  cannot  have 
for  money.  And  that  which  aggravates  the  loss  of 
these  advantages  by  the  river,  is,  that  it  is  their  own 
doings;  (r.  6.)  They  shall  turn  the  rivers  far  away. 
Their  kings  and  great  men,  to  gratify  their  own 
fancy,  will  drain  water  from  the  main  river  to  their 
own  houses  and  grounds  at  a  distance,  preferring 
their  private  conveniencies  before  the  public,  and 
so  by  degrees  the  force  of  the  river  is  sensibly  weak¬ 
ened.  Thus  many  do  themselves  a  greater  preju¬ 
dice  at  last  than  they  think  of;  [1.  ]  Who  pretend  to 
be  wiser  than  nature,  and  to  do  better  for  them¬ 
selves  than  nature  has  done.  [2.]  Who  consult  their 
own  particular  interest  more  than  the  common 
good.  Such  may  gratify  themselves,  but  surely 
they  can  never  satisfy  themselves,  who,  to  serve  a 
turn,  contribute  to  a  public  calamity,  which  they 
themselves,  at  long  run,  cannot  avoid  sharing  in. 
Herodotus  tells  us  that  Pharaoh-Necho,  (who  reign¬ 
ed  not  long  after  this,)  projecting  to  cut  a  free  pas¬ 
sage  by  water  from  Nilus  into  the  Red  sea,  em¬ 
ployed  a  vast  number  of  men  to  make  a  ditch  or 
channel  for  that  purpose;  in  which  attempt  he  im¬ 
paired  the  river,  lost  a  hundred  and  twenty  thousand 
of  his  people,  and  yet  left  the  work  unaccomplished. 


XIX. 

VII.  Egypt  was  famous  for  the  linen  manufac 
ture;  but  that  trade  shall  be  ruined.  Solomon’? 
merchants  traded  with  Egypt  for  linen  yam,  ; 
Kings  x.  28.  Their  country  produced  the  best  flax, 
and  the  best  hands  to  work  it;  but  they  that  work 
in  fine  flax,  shall  be  confounded,  ( v .  9. )  either  fi  r 
want  of  flax  to  work  on,  or  for  want  of  a  demand 
for  that  which  they  have  worked,  or  of  opportunity 
to  export  it.  The  decay  of  trade  weakens  and 
wastes  a  nation,  and  by  degrees  brings  it  to  ru:n. 
The  trade  of  Egypt  must  needs  sink,  for  (n.  15.  J 
There  shall  not  be  any  work  for  Egypt  to  be  em¬ 
ployed  in;  and  when  there  is  nothing  to  be  done, 
there  is  nothing  to  be  got.  There  shall  be  an  uni¬ 
versal  stop  put  to  business,  no  work  which  cither 
head  or  tail,  branch  or  rush,  may  do;  nothing  ti  r 
high  or  low,  weak  or  strong,  to  do,  no  hire,  Zech. 
viii.  10.  Note,  The  flourishing  of  a  kingdom  de¬ 
pends  much  upon  the  industry  of  the  people;  and 
then  things  are  likely  to  do  well,  when  all  hands  are 
at  work;  when  the  head  and  top  branch  do  not  dis¬ 
dain  to  labour,  and  the  labour  of  the  tail  and  rush  is 
not  disdained.  But  when  the  learned  professions  are 
unemployed,  the  principal  merchants  have  no  stocks, 
and  the  handicraft  tradesman  nothing  to  do,  poverty 
comes  upon  a  people  as  one  that  travelleth,  and  us 
an  armed  man. 

VIII.  A  general  consternation  shall  seize  the 
Egyptians;  they  shall  be  afraid,  and  fear,  (v.  16.) 
which  will  be  both  an  evidc  nee  of  a  universal  dc  c:.\ , 
and  a  means  and  presage  of  utter  ruin.  Two  things 
will  put  them  into  this  fright;  1.  What  they  hear 
from  the  land  of  Judah;  that  shall  be  a  terror 
to  Egvpt,  v.  17.  When  they  hear  of  the  desola¬ 
tions  made  in  Judah  by  the  army  of  Sennacherib, 
considering  both  the  near  neighbourhood,  and  the 
strict  alliance  that  was  between  them  and  Judah, 
they  will  conclude  it  must  be  their  turn  next  to  be¬ 
come  a  prey  to  that  victorious  army.  When  their 
neighbour’s  house  was  on  fire,  they  could  not  but 
see  their  own  danger;  and  therefore  ever)-  one  cf  the 
Egyptians,  that  makes  mention  of  Judah,  shall  be 
afraid  in  himself,  expecting  the  bitter  cup  shortly 
to  be  put  into  his  hands.  2.  What  they  see  in  their 
own  land.  They  shall  fear,  (v.  16.)  because  of  the 
shaking  of  the  hand  of  the  Lord  of  hosts,  and  (to  7. ) 
because  of  the  counsel  of  the  Lord  of  hosts;  which, 
from  the  shaking  of  his  hand,  they  shall  conclude  he 
has  determined  against  Egypt  as  well  as  Judah.  F<  i 
if  judgment  begin  at  the  house  cf  God,  where  will  it 
end?  If  this  be  done  in  the  green  tree,  what  shall  be 
done  in  the  dry?  See  here,  (1.)  How  easily  God  c:  n 
make  those  a  terror  to  themselves,  that  have  been  n<  t 
only  secure,  but  a  terror  to  all  about  them.  It  is  but 
shaking  his  hand  over  them,  or  laying  it  upon  seme 
of  their  neighbours,  and  the  stoutest  hearts  tremble 
immediately.  (2.)  How  well  it  becomes  us  to  fear 
before  God,  when  he  does  but  shake  his  hand  ever 
us,  and  to  humble  ourselves  under  his  mighty  hand, 
when  it  does  but  threaten  us,  especially  when  we 
see  his  counsel  determined  against  us;  for  who  c  n 
change  his  counsel? 

18.  In  that  day  shall  five  cities  in  the  lan  1 
of  Egypt  speak  the  language  of  Canaan,  and 
swear  to  the  Lord  of  hosts:  one  shall  he 
called,  The  city  of  destruction.  19.  In  that 
day  there  shall  be  an  altar  to  the  Lord  in 
the  midst  of  the  land  of  Egypt,  and  a  pillar 
at  the  border  thereof  to  the  Lord.  20.  And 
it  shall  be  for  a  sign  and  for  a  witness  unto 
the  Lord  of  hosts  in  the  land  of  Egypt:  for 
they  shall  cry  unto  the  Lord  because  of  the 
oppressors,  and  he  shall  send  them  a  sa- 


94 


ISAIAH,  XIX. 


viour,  and  a  great  one,  and  he  shall  deliver 
them.  21.  And  the  Lord  shall  be  known 
to  Egypt,  and  the  Egyptians  shall  know  the 
Lord  in  that  day,  and  shall  do  sacrifice  and 
oblation;  yea,  they  shall  vow  a  vow  unto 
the  Lord,  and  perform  it.  22.  And  the 
Lord  shall  smite  Egypt;  he  shall  smite  and 
heal  it:  and  they  shall  return  even  to  the 
Lord,  and  he  shall  be  entreated  of  them, 
and  shall  heal  them.  23.  In  that  day  shall 
there  be  a  highway  out  of  Egypt  to  Assyria ; 
and  the  Assyrian  shall  come  into  Egypt, 
and  the  Egyptian  into  Assyria;  and  the 
Egyptians  shall  serve  with  the  Assyrians. 
24.  In  that  day  shall  Israel  be  the  third  with 
Egypt  and  with  Assyria,  even  a  blessing  in 
the  midst  of  the  land;  25.  Whom  the  Lord 
of  hosts  shall  bless,  saying,  Blessed  be  Egypt 
my  people,  and  Assyria  the  work  of  my 
hands,  and  Israel  mine  inheritance. 

Out  of  the  thick  and  threatening  clouds  of  the 
foregoing  prophecy,  here  the  sun  of  comfort  breaks 
forth,  and  it  is  the  sun  of  righteousness.  Still  God 
has  mercy  in  store  for  Egypt,  and  he  will  show  it, 
not  so  much  by  reviving  their  trade,  and  replenish¬ 
ing  their  river  again,  as  by  bringing  the  true  religion 
among  them,  calling  them  to,  and  accepting  them 
in,  the  worship  of  the  one  only  living  and  true  God; 
and  these  blessings  of  grace  were  much  more  valua¬ 
ble  than  all  the  blessings  of  nature,  wherewith  Egypt 
was  enriched.  We  know  not  of  any  event  in  which 
this  prophecy  can  be  thought  to  have  its  full  accom¬ 
plishment,  short  of  the  conversion  of  Egypt  to  the 
faith  of  Christ,  by  the  preaching  (as  is  supposed)  of 
Mark  the  Evangelist,  and  the  founding  of  many 
Christian  churches  there,  which  flourished  for  many 
ages.  Many  prophecies  of  this  book  point  to  the 
days  of  the  Messiah;  and  why  not  this?  It  is  no 
unusual  thing  to  speak  of  gospel-graces  and  ordi¬ 
nances  in  the  language  of  the  Old  Testament  insti¬ 
tutions.  And  in  these  prophecies,  those  words,  in 
that  day,  perhaps,  have  not  always  a  reference  to 
what  goes  immediately  before,  but  have  a  peculiar 
significancy  pointing  at  that  day  which  had  been  so 
long  fixed,  and  so  often  spoken  of,  when  the  day¬ 
spring  from  on  high  should  visit  this  dark  world. 
Yet  it  is  not  improbable,  which  some  conjecture, 
that  this  prophecy  was  in  part  fulfilled  when  those 
Jews  who  fled  from  their  own  country  to  take  shel¬ 
ter  in  Egypt,  when  Sennacherib  invaded  their  land, 
brought  their  religion  along  with  them,  and,  being 
awakened  to  great  seriousness  by  the  troubles  they 
were  in,  made  an  open  and  zealous  profession  of  it 
..here,  and  were  instrumental  to  bring  many  of  the 
Egyptians  to  embrace  it;  which  was  an  earnest  and 
specimen  of  the  more  plentiful  harvest  of  souls  that 
should  be  gathered  in  to  God  by  the  preaching  of 
the  gospel  of  Christ.  Josephus  indeed  tells  us,  that 
Onias,  the  son  of  Onias  the  High  Priest,  living  an 
outlaw  at  Alexandria  in  Egypt,  obtained  leave  of 
Ptolemy  Philometer,  then  king,  and  Cleopatra,  his 
queen,  to  build  a  temple  to  the  God  of  Israel,  like 
that  at  Jerusalem,  at  Bubastis  in  Egypt,  and  pre- 
1  ended  a  warrant  for  doing  it  from  this  prophecy 
in  Isaiah,  that  there  shall  be  an  altar  to  the  Lord  in 
the  land  of  Egypt;  the  service  of  God,  Josephus  af¬ 
firms,  continued  in  it  about  333  years,  when  it  was 
shut  up  by  Paulinus,  soon  after  the  destruction  of 
Jerusalem  bv  the  Romans:  see  Joseph.  Jntia.  1.  13. 
e.  6.  and  dc  Bell.  Judaic.  1.  7.  c.  30.  But  that  tem¬ 
ple  was  all  along  looked  upon  by  'he  Dions  1-ws 


as  so  great  an  irregularity,  and  an  affront  to  the 
temple  at  Jerusalem,  that  we  cannot  suppose  this 
prophecy  to  be  fulfilled  in  it. 

Observe  how  the  conversion  of  Egypt  is  here  de¬ 
scribed. 

I.  They  shall  speak  the  language  of  Canaan,  the 
holy  language,  the  scripture-language;  they  shall 
not  only  understand  it,  but  use  it;  (v.  18.)  they  shall 
introduce  that  language  among  them,  and  converse 
freely  with  the  people  of  God,  and  not,  us  they  used 
to  do,  by  an  interpreter,  Gen.  xlii.  23.  Note,  Con¬ 
verting  grace,  by  changing  the  heart,  changes  the 
language;  for  out  of  the  abundance  of  the  heart  the 
mouth  speaks.  Five  cities  in  Egypt  shall  speak  this 
language;  so  many  Jews  shall  come  to  reside  in 
Egypt,  and  they  shall  so  multiply  there,  that  they 
shall  soon  replenish  five  cities;  one  of  which  shall 
be  the  city  of  Heres,  or  of  the  sun,  Heliopolis, 
where  the  sun  was  worshipped,  the  most  infamous 
of  all  the  cities  of  Egypt  tor  idolatry;  even  there 
shall  be  a  wonderful  reformation — they  shall  speak 
the  language  of  Canaan.  Or  it  may  be  taken  thus, 
as  we  render  it,  That  for  every  five  cities  that  shall 
embrace  religion,  there  shall  be  one  (a  sixth  part 
of  the  cities  of  Egypt)  that  shall  reject  it,  and  that 
shall  be  called  a  city  of  destruction,  because  it  re¬ 
fuses  the  method  of  salvation. 

II.  They  shall  swear  to  the  Lord  of  hosts;  not 
only  swear  by  him,  giving  him  the  honour  of  ap¬ 
pealing  to  him,  as  all  nations  did  to  the  gods  they 
worshipped;  but  they  shall  by  a  solemn  oath  and 
vow  devote  themselves  to  his  honour,  and  bind 
themselves  to  his  service.  They  shall  swear  tt 
cleave  to  him  with  purpose  of  heart,  and  shall  wor¬ 
ship  him  not  occasionally,  but  constantly.  They 
shall  swear  allegiance  to  him  as  their  King,  to 
Christ,  to  whom  all  judgment  is  committed. 

III.  They  shall  set  up  the  public  worship  of  God 
in  their  land;  (v.  19.)  There  shall  be  an  altar  to 
the  Lord  in  the  midst  of  the  land  of  Egypt,  an  altar 
on  which  they  shall  do  sacrifice  and  oblation;  (v. 
21.)  therefore  it  must  be  understood  spiritually. 
Christ,  the  great  Altar,  who  sanctifies  every  gift, 
shall  be  owned  there,  and  the  gospel-sacrifices  of 
prayer  and  praise  shall  be  offered  up;  for  by  the 
law  of  Moses  there  was  to  be  no  altar  for  sacrifice 
but  that  at  Jerusalem.  In  Christ  Jesus  all  distinc¬ 
tion  of  nations  is  taken  away;  and  a  spiritual  altar, 
a  gospel-church,  in  the  midst  of  the  land  of  Egypt, 
is  as  acceptable  to  God  as  one  in  the  midst  of  the 
land  of  Israel;  and  spiritual  sacrifices  of  faith  and 
love,  and  a  contrite  heart,  please  the  Lord  better 
than  an  ox  or  bullock. 

IV.  There  shall  be  a  face  of  religion  upon  the  na¬ 
tion,  and  an  open  profession  made  of  it,  discernible 
to  all  who  come  among  them;  not  only  in  the  heart 
of  the  country,  but  even  in  the  borders  of  it,  there 
shall  be  a  pillar,  or  pillars,  inscribed,  to  Jehovah, 
to  his  honour,  as  before  there  had  been  such  pillars 
set  up  in  honour  of  false  gods.  As  soon  as  a  stranger 
entered  upon  the  borders  of  Egypt,  he  might  soon 
perceive  what  God  they  worshipped.  Those  that 
serve  God  must  not  be  ashamed  to  own  him,  but  be 
forward  to  do  any  thing  that  may  be  for  a  sign  and 
for  a  witness  to  the  Lord  of  hosts,  that  even  in  the 
land  of  Egypt  he  had  some  faithful  worshippers, 
who  boasted  of  their  relation  to  him,  and  made  his 
name  their  strong  tower,  or  bulwark,  cn  their  bor¬ 
ders,  with  which  their  coasts  were  fortified  against 
all  assailants. 

V.  Being  in  distress,  they  shall  seek  to  God,  and 
he  shall  be  found  of  them;  and  this  shall  be  a  sign 
and  a  witness  for  the  Lord  of  hosts,  that  he  is  a  God 
hearing  prayer  to  all  flesh  that  come  to  him,  v.  20. 
See  Ps.  lxv.  2.  When  they  cry  to  God  by  reason 
of  their  oppressors,  the  cruel  lords  that  shall  rule 
over  them,  (v  4.)  he.  shall  be  entreated  of  them; 


95 


ISAIAH,  XX. 


(e.  22.)  whereas  he  had  told  his  people  Israel,  who 
had  made  it  their  own  choice  to  have  such  a  king, 
that  they  should  cry  to  him  by  reason  of  their  king, 
and  he  would  not  hear  them,  1  Sam.  viii.  18. 

VI.  They  shall  have  an  interest  in  the  great  Re¬ 
deemer.  When  they  were  under  the  oppression  of 
cruel  birds,  perhaps  God  sometimes  raised  them  up 
mighty  deliverers,  as  he  did  for  Israel  in  the  days 
of  the  judges;  and  by  them,  though  he  had  smitten 
the  land,  he  healed  it  again;  and,  upon  their  return 
to  God  in  a  way  of  duty,  he  returned  to  them  in  a 
vay  of  mercy,  and  repaired  the  breaches  of  their 
ottering  state;  for  repenting  Egyptians  shall  find 

the  same  favour  with  God  that  repenting  Ninevites 
lid.  But  all  these  deliverances  wrought  for  them, 
is  those  for  Israel,  were  but  figures  of  gospel-salva- 
"ion.  Doubtless,  Jesus  Christ  is  the  baviour,  and 
.lie  Great  One,  here  spoken  of,  whom  God  will 
send  the  glad  tidings  of  to  the  Egyptians,  and  by 
whom  he  will  deliver  them  out  of  the  hands  of  their 
enemies,  that  they  may  serve  him  without  fear, 
Luke  i.  74,  75.  Jesus  Christ  delivered  the  Gentile 
nations  from  the  service  of  dumb  idols,  and  did 
himself  both  purchase  and  preach  liberty  to  the 
captives. 

VII.  The  knowledge  of  God  shall  prevail  among 

them,  i'.  21.  1.  They  shall  have  the  means  of 

knowledge;  for  many  ages,  in  Judah  only  was  God 
known,  for  there  only  were  the  lively  oracles  found; 
but  now  the  Lord,  and  his  name  and  will,  shall  be 
known  to  Egyfit.  Perhaps  this  may  in  part  refer 
to  the  translation  of  the  Old  T estament  out  of  He¬ 
brew  into  Greek  by  the  LXX.,  which  was  done  at 
Alexandria  in  Egypt,  by  the  command  of  Ptolemy 
king  of  Egypt;  and  it  was  the  first  time  that  the 
scriptures  were  translated  into  any  other  language: 
by  the  help  of  this,  (the  Grecian  monarchy  having 
introduced  their  language  into  that  country,)  the 
Lord  was  known  to  Egyfit,  and  a  happy  omen  and 
means  it  was  of  his  being  further  known,  v.  1.  2. 

They  shall  have  grace  to  improve  those  means;  it 
is  promised  not  only  that  the  Lord  shall  be  known 
to  Egypt,  but  that  the  Egyptians  shall  know  the 
Lord;  they  shall  receive  and  entertain  the  light 
granted  to  them,  and  shall  submit  themselves  to  the 
power  of  it.  The  Lord  is  known  to  our  nation,  and 
yet  I  fear  there  are  many  of  our  nation  that  do  not 
know  the  Lord.  But  the  promise  of  the  new  cove¬ 
nant  is,  that  all  shall  know  the  Lord  from  the  least 
even  to  the  greatest;  which  promise  is  sure  to  all 
the  seed.  The  effect  of  this  knowledge  of  God  is, 
that  they  shall  vow  a  vow  to  the  Lord,  and  perform 
it.  For  those  do  not  know  God  aright,  who  either 
are  not  willing  to  bind  themselves  to  the  Lord,  or 
do  not  make  good  these  obligations. 

VIII.  They  shall  come  into  the  communion  of 
saints;  being  joined  to  the  Lord,  they  shall  be  added 
to  the  church,  and  be  incorporated  with  all  the 
saints. 

1.  All  enmities  shall  be  slain.  Mortal  feuds  there 
had  been  between  Egypt  and  Assyria,  they  often 
made  war  upon  one  another;  but  now  there  shall  be 
a  highway  between  Egypt  and  jlssyria,  ( v .  23.)  a 
happy  correspondence  settled  between  the  two  na¬ 
tions;  they  shall  trade  with  one  another,  and  every 
tiling  that  passes  between  them  shall  be  friendly. 
The  Egyptians  shall  serve,  shall  worship,  the  true 
God  with  the  Assyrians;  and  therefore  the  Assy¬ 
rians  shall  come  into  Egypt,  and  the  Egyptians  into 
Assyria.  Note,  It  becomes  those  who  have  com¬ 
munion  with  the  same  God,  through  the  same  Me¬ 
diator,  to  keep  up  an  amicable  correspondence  with 
one  another.  The  consideration  of  our  meeting  at 
the  same  throne  of  grace,  and  our  serving  with  each 
other  in  the  same  business  of  religion,  should  put 
an  end  to  all  heats  and  animosities,  and  knit  our 
hearts  to  each  other  in  holy  love. 


1  2.  The  Gentile  nations  shall  not  only  unite  with 

each  other  in  the  gospel-fold  under  Christ  the  great 
!  Shepherd,  but  they  shall  all  be  united  with  the 
|  Jews.  When  Egypt  and  Assyria  become  partners 
in  serving  God,  Israel  shall  make  a  third  with  them, 
j  ( v .  24.)  they  shall  become  a  threefold  cord,  not 
J  easily  broken;  the  ceremonial  law,  which  had  long 
been  the  partition- wall  between  Jews  and  Gentiles, 
shall  be  taken  down,  and  then  they  shall  become 
j  one  sheep-fold,  under  one  shepherd.  Thus  united, 

'  they  shall  lie  a  blessing  in  the  midst  of  the  land, 
j  whom  the  Lord  of  hosts  shall  bless,  v.  24,  25.  (1.) 

I  Israel  shall  be  a  blessing  to  them  all,  because  of 
them,  as  concerning  the  flesh,  Christ  came;  and  they 
were  the  natural  branches  of  the  good  olive,  to  whom 
did  originally  pertain  its  root  and  fatness,  and  the 
Gentiles  were  but  grafted  in  among  them,  Rem. 
xi.  17.  Israel  lay  between  Egypt  and  Assyria,  and 
was  a  blessing  to  them,  both  by  bringing  them  to 
meet  in  that  word  of  the  Lord,  which  went  forth 
from  Jerusalem,  and  that  church  which  was  first 
set  up  in  the  land  of  Israel:  Qui  conveniunt  in  ali- 
quo  tertio,  inter  se  conveniunt — They  who  meet  in 
a  third,  meet  in  each  other.  Israel  is  that  third  in 
whom  Egypt  and  Assyria  agree,  and  is  therefore  a 
blessing;  for  those  are  real  and  great  blessings  to 
their  generation,  who  are  instrumental  to  unite  those 
that  have  been  at  variance.  (2.)  They  shall  all  be 
a  blessing  to  the  world;  so  the  Christian  church  is, 
made  up  of  Jews  and  Gentiles;  it  is  the  beauty, 
riches,  and  support,  of  the  world.  (3.)  They  shall 
all  be  blessed  of  the  Lord:  [1.]  They  shall  all  be 
owned  by  him  as  his.  Though  Egypt  was  formerly 
a  house  of  bondage  to  the  people  of  God,  and  As¬ 
syria  an  unjust  invader  of  them,  all  this  shall  now 
be  forgiven  and  forgotten,  and  they  shall  be  as  wel¬ 
come  to  God  as  Israel.  They  are  all  alike  his  peo¬ 
ple,  whom  he  takes  under  his  protection:  they  are 
formed  by  him,  for  they  are  the  work  of  his  hands; 
not  only  as  a  people,  but  as  his  people.  They  are 
formed  for  him,  for  they  are  his  inheritance,  pre¬ 
cious  in  his  eyes,  and  dear  to  him,  and  from  whom 
he  has  his  rent  of  honour  out  of  this  lower  world. 
[2.  ]  They  shall  be  owned  together  by  him  as  jointly 
his;  his  in  concert;  they  shall  all  share  in  one  and 
the  same  blessing.  Note,  Those  that  are  united  in 
the  love  and  blessing  of  God,  ought,  for  that  reason, 
to  be  united  to  each  other  in  charity. 

CHAP.  XX. 

^his  chapter  is  a  prediction  of  the  carrying  away  of  multi¬ 
tudes  both  of  the  Egyptians  and  the  Ethiopians  into  cap¬ 
tivity  by  the  king  of  Assyria.  Here  is,  I.  The  sign  by 
which  this  was  foretold,  which  was,  the  prophet’s  going, 
for  some  time,  barefoot  and  almost  naked,  like  a  poor 
captive,  v.  1,  2.  II.  The  explication  of  that  sign,  with 
application  to  Egypt  and  Ethiopia,  v.  3  .  .  5.  III.  The 
good  use  which  the  people  of  God  should  make  of  this, 
which  is,  never  to  trust  in  an  arm  of  flesh,  because  thus 
it  will  deceive  them,  v.  6. 

1 .  TN  the  year  that  Tartan  came  unto 
X  Ashdod,  (when  Sargon  the  king  of 
Assyria  sent  him,)  and  fought  against  Ash¬ 
dod,  and  took  it ;  2.  At  the  same  time  spake 
the  Lord  by  Isaiah  the  son  of  Amoz, 
saying,  Go,  and  loose  the  sackcloth  from  off 
thy  loins,  and  put  off  thy  shoe  from  thy  foot. 
And  he  did  so,  walking  naked  and  barefoot. 
3.  And  the  Lord  said,  Like  as  my  servant 
Isaiah  hath  walked  naked  and  barefoot 
three  years  for  a  sign  and  wonder  upon 
Egypt  and  upon  Ethiopia;  4.  So  shall  the 
king  of  Assyria  lead  away  the  Egyptians 
prisoners,  and  the  Ethiopians  captives, 


96 


ISAIAH,  XX. 


young  and  old,  naked  and  barefoot,  even 
with  their  buttocks  uncovered,  to  tire  shame 
of  Egypt.  5.  And  they  shall  be  afraid  and 
ashamed  of  Ethiopia  their  expectation,  and 
of  Egypt  their  glory.  6.  And  the  inhabitant 
of  this  isle  shall  say  in  that  day,  Behold, 
such  is  our  expectation,  whither  we  flee 
for  help  to  be  delivered  from  the  king  of  As¬ 
syria  :  and  how  shall  we  escape  ? 

God  here,  as  King  of  nations,  brings  a  sore  calam¬ 
ity  upon  Egypt  and  Ethiopia,  but,  as  King  of  saints, 
brings  good  to  his  people  out  of  it.  Observe, 

I.  The  date  of  this  prophecy;  it  was  in  the  year 
that  Ashdod,  a  strong  city  of  the  Philistines,  (but 
which  some  think  was  lately  recovered  from  them 
by  Hezekiah,  when  he  smote  the  Philistines  even 
unto  Gaza,  2  Kings  xviii.  8.)  was  besieged  and 
taken  by  an' army  of  the  Assyrians;  it  is  uncertain 
what  year  of  Hezekiah  that  was,  but  the  event  was 
so  remarkable,  that  they  who  lived  then,  could  by 
that  token  fix  the  time  to  a  year.  He  that  was  now 
king  of  Assyria,  is  called  Sargon,  which  some  take 
to  be  the  same  with  Sennacherib;  others  think  he 
was  his  immediate  predecessor,  and  succeeded  Shal¬ 
maneser.  Tartan,  who  was  general,  or  commander- 
in-chief,  in  this  expedition,  was  one  of  Sennacherib’s 
officers,  sent  by  him  to  bid  defiance  to  Hezekiah, 
in  concurrence  with  Rabshakeh,  2  Kings  xviii.  17. 

II.  The  making  of  Isaiah  a  sign,  by  his  unusual 
dress,  when  lie  walked  abroad.  He  had  been  a  sign 
to  his  own  people  of  the  melancholy  times  that  were 
come,  and  coming,  upon  them,  by  the  sackcloth 
which  for  some  time  he  had  worn,  of  which  he  had 
a  gown  made,  which  he  girt  about  him.  Some 
think  he  put  himself  into  that  habit  of  a  mourner, 
upon  occasion  of  the  captivity  of  the  ten  tribes; 
others  think  sackcloth  was  what  he  commonly  wore 
as  a  prophet,  to  show  himself  mortified  to  the  world, 
and  that  he  might  learn  to  endure  hardness;  soft 
clothing  better  becomes  those  that  attend  in  king’s 
palaces,  (Matth.  xi.  8.)  than  those  that  go  on  God’s 
errands.  Elijah  wore  hair-cloth,  (2  Kings  i.  8.)  and 
John  Baptist,  (Matth.  iii.  4.)  and  those  that  pre¬ 
tended  to  be  prophets,  supported  their  pretensions 
by  wearing  rough  garments;  (Zec'h.  xiii.  4.)  but 
Isaiah  has  orders  given  him  to  loose  his  sackcloth 
from  his  loins,  not  to  exchange  it  for  better  clothing, 
but  for  none  at  all,  no  upper  garment,  no  mantle, 
cloak  or  coat,  but  only  that  which  was  next  to  him ; 
his  shirt,  we  may  suppose,  waistcoat,  and  drawers; 
and  he  must  put  off  his  shoes,  and  go  barefoot;  so 
that,  compared  with  the  dress  of  others,  and  what 
he  himself  usually  wore,  he  might  be  said  to  go 
naked.  This  was  a  great  hardship  upon  the  pro¬ 
phet,  it  was  a  blemish  to  his  reputation,  and  would 
expose  him  to  contempt  and  ridicule;  the  boys  in 
the  streets  would  hoot  at  him ;  and  they  who  sought 
occasion  against  him,  would  say,  The  prophet  is  in¬ 
deed  a  fool,  and  the  spiritual  man  is  mad,  Hos.  ix. 
7.  It  might  likewise  be  a  prejudice  to  his  health, 
he  was  in  danger  of  catching  a  cold,  which  might 
throw  him  into  a  fever,  and  cost  him  his  life;  but 
God  bade  him  do  it,  that  he  might  give  a  proof  of 
his  obedience  to  God  in  a  most  difficult  command, 
and  so  shame  the  disobedience  of  his  people  to  the 
most  easy  and  reasonable  precepts.  When  we  are 
in  the  way  of  our  duty,  we  may  trust  God  both  with 
our  credit  and  with  our  safety.  The  hearts  of  that 
people  were  strangely  stupid,  and  would  not  be  af¬ 
fected  with  what  they  heard  only,  but  must  be 
taught  by  signs,  and  therefore  Isaiah  must  do  this 
for  their  edification:  if  the  dress  was  scandalous,  yet 
the  design  was  glorious,  and  what  a  prophet  of  the 
Lord  needed  not  to  be  ashamed  of. 


III.  The  exposition  of  this  sign,  v.  3,  4.  Tt  was 
intended  to  signify  that  the  Egyptians  and  the  Ethi¬ 
opians  should  be  led  away  captives  by  the  king  of 
Assyria,  thus  stripped,  rr  in  rags  and  very  shabby 
clothing,  as  Isaiah  was.  Grd  calls  him  his  servant 
Isaiah,  because  in  this  matter  particularly  he  had 
approved  himself  God’s  willing,  faithful,  obedient 
servant;  and  for  this  very  thing,  which  perhaps 
others  laughed  at  him  for,  Grd  gloried  in  him.  To 
obey  is  better  than  sacrifice;  it  pleases  Gcd,  and 
praises  him  more,  and  shall  be  more  praised  by  him. 
Isaiah  is  said  to  have  wa’ked  naked  and  barefoot 
three  years,  whenever  in  that  time  he  appeared  as 
a  prophet:  but  seme  refer  the  three  years,  net  to 
the  sign,  but  to  the  thing  signified;  he  has  walked 
naked  and  barefoot;  there  is  a  step  to  the  original: 
provided  he  did  so  once,  there  was  enough  to  give 
occasion  to  all  about  him  to  inquire  what  was  the 
meaning  of  his  doing  so;  or,  as  some  think,  he  did  it 
three  days,  a  day  for  a  year;  and  this  ft  r  a  three 
years’  sign  and  wonder,  for  a  sign  of  that  which 
shall  be  done  three  years  hence,  or  which  shall  be 
three  years  in  the  doing.  Three  campaigns  suc¬ 
cessively  shall  the  Assyrian  armv  make,  in  spoiling 
the  Egyptians  and  Ethiopians,  and  carrying  them 
away  captive  in  this  barbarous  manner;  not  cnly 
the  soldiers  taken  in  the  field  of  battle,  but  the  in¬ 
habitants,  young  and  old;  and  it  being  a  very  pitecus 
sight,  and  such  as  must  needs  move  compassion  in 
those  that  had  the  least  degree  of  tenderness  left 
them,  to  see  those  who  had  gone  all  their  davs  well- 
dressed,  now  stripped,  and  scarcely  having  rags  to 
cover  their  nakedness;  that  circumstance  of  their 
captivity  is  particularly  taken  notice  of,  and  fore¬ 
told,  the  more  to  affect  them  to  whom  this  prophecy 
was  delivered.  It  is  particularly  said  to  be  the 
shame  of  Egypt,  (v.  4.)  because  the  Egyptians  were 
a  proud  people,  and  therefore  when  they  did  fall 
intn  disgrace,  it  was  the  more  shameful  to  them: 
and  the  higher  they  had  lifted  up  themselves,  the 
lower  was  their  fall,  both  in  their  c.wn  eyes  and  in 
the  eyes  of  others. 

IV.  The  use  and  application  of  this,  v.  5,  6. 

1.  All  that  had  any  dependence  upon,  or  corres¬ 
pondence  with  Egypt  and  Ethiopia,  should  now  be 
ashamed  of  them,  and  afraid  of  having  any  thing  to 
do  with  them.  Those  countries  that  were  in  dan¬ 
ger  of  being  overrun  by  the  Assyrians,  expected 
that  Tirhakah,  king  of  Ethiopia,  with  bis  liumir 
ous  forces,  should  put  a  stop  to  the  progress  of  their 
victorious  arms,  and  be  a  barrier  to  his  neighbours; 
and  with  yet  more  assurance  they  gloried  that 
Egypt,  a  kingdom  so  famous  for  policy  and  prowess, 
would  do  their  business,  would  oblige  them  to  raise 
the  siege  of  Ashdod,  and  retire  with  precipitation : 
but,  instead  of  this,  by  attempting  to  oppose  him, 
they  do  but  expose  themselves,  and  make  their 
country  a  prey  to  him.  Hereupon,  all  about  them 
are  ashamed  that  ever  they  promised  themselves 
any  advantage  from  two  such  weak  and  cownrdly 
nations,  and  more  afraid  now'  than  ever  they  were 
of  the  growdng  greatness  of  the  king  of  Assyria,  be¬ 
fore  whom  Egypt  and  Ethiopia  proved  but  as  briers 
and  thorns  put  to  stop  a  consuming  fire,  which  do 
but  make  it  burn  the  more  strongly.  Note,  Those 
who  make  any  creature  their  expectation  and  glory, 
and  so  put  it  in  the  place  of  God,  will,  sooner  or 
later,  be  ashamed  of  it,  and  their  disappointment  in 
it  will  but  increase  their  fear.  See  Ezck.  xxix.  6,  7. 

2.  The  Jews  in  particular  should  be  convinced  of 
their  folly  in  resting  upon  such  broken  reeds,  and 
should  despair  of  any  relief  from  them ;  (u.  6.)  The 
inhabitants  of  this  Isle,  the  land  of  Judah,  situated 
upon  the  sea,  though  not  surrounded  by  it;  of  this 
country,  so  the  margin:  everyone  shall  now  have 
his  eyes  opened,  and  shall  say,  “  Behold,  such  is  our 
expectation,  so  vain,  so  foolish,  and  this  is  that 


97 


ISAIAH,  XXL 


which  it  will  come  to;  we  have  fled  for  help  to  the  |i 
Egyptians  and  Ethiopians,  and  have  hoped  by  them 
to  be  delivered  from  the  king  of  Assyria;  but  now 
that  they  are  broken  thus,  how  shall  we  escape, 
that  are  not  able  to  bring  such  armies  into  the  field 
as  they  did?”  Note,  (1.)  Those  that  confide  in 
creatures  will  be  disappointed,  and  will  be  made 
ashamed  of  their  confidence,  for  vain  is  the  help  of 
man,  and  in  vain  is  salvation  hoped  for  from  the 
hills,  or  the  height  and  multitude  of  the  mountains. 
(2.)  Disappointment  in  creature-confidences,  in¬ 
stead  of  driving  us  to  despair,  as  here,  (How  shall 
we  escape?)  should  drive  us  to  God,  to  whom  if  we 
flee  for  help,  our  expectation  shall  not  be  frustrated. 

CHAP.  XXI. 

In  this  chapter  we  have  a  prophecy  of  sad  times  coming, 
and  heavy  burthens;  I.  Upon  Babylon,  here  called  the 
desert  of  the  sea ,  that  it  should  be  destroyed  by  the  Medes 
and  Persians  with  a  terrible  destruction,  which  yet  God’s 
people  should  have  advantage  by,  v.  1 . .  10.  II.  Upon 
Dumah,  or  Idumea,  v.  1 1,  12.  III.  Upon  Arabia,  or  Ke- 
dar,  the  desolation  of  which  country  was  very  near,  v.  13. . 
17.  These  and  other  nations  which  the  princes  and  peo¬ 
ple  of  Israel  had  so  much  to  do  with,  the  prophets  of  Is¬ 
rael  could  not  but  have  something  to  say  to  :  foreign  af¬ 
fairs  must  be  taken  notice  of  as  well  as  domestic  ones, 
and  news  from  abroad  inquired  after  as  well  as  news  at 
home. 

1.  npHE  burden  of  the  desert  of  the  sea. 

JL  As  whirlwinds  in  the  south  pass 
through;  so  it  cometh  from  the  desert,  from 
a  terrible  land.  2.  A  grievous  vision  is  de¬ 
clared  unto  me ;  The  treacherous  dealer 
dealeth  treacherously,  and  the  spoiler  spoil- 
eth.  Go  up,  O  Elam:  besiege,  ()  Media: 
all  the  sighing  thereof  have  I  made  to  cease. 

3.  Therefore  are  my  loins  filled  with  pain ; 
pangs  have  taken  hold  upon  me,  as  the 
pangs  of  a  woman  that  travaileth:  I  was 
bowed  down  at  the  hearing  of  it;  I  was  dis¬ 
mayed  at  the  seeing  of  it.  4.  My  heart 
panted,  fearfulness  affrighted  me:  the  night 
of  my  pleasure  hath  he  turned  into  fear  unto 
me.  5.  Prepare  the  table,  watch  in  the 
watch-tower,  eat,  drink :  arise,  ye  princes, 
and  anoint  the  shield.  6.  For  thus  hath  the 
Lord  said  unto  me,  Go,  set  a  watchman, 
let  him  declare  what  he  seeth.  7.  And  he 
saw  a  chariot  with  a  couple  of  horsemen,  a 
chariot  of  asses,  and  a  chariot  of  camels ;  and 
he  hearkened  diligently  with  much  heed.  8. 
And  he  cried,  A  lion :  My  lord,  I  stand  con¬ 
tinually  upon  the  watch-tower  in  the  day¬ 
time,  and  I  am  set  in  my  ward  whole  nights; 

9.  And,  behold,  here  cometh  a  chariot  of 
men,  with  a  couple  of  horsemen.  And  he 
answered  and  said,  Babylon  is  fallen,  is 
fallen;  and  all  the  graven  images  of  her  gods 
he  hath  broken  unto  the  ground.  10.  O  my 
threshing,  and  the  com  of  my  floor:  that 
which  I  have  heard  of  the  Lord  of  hosts, 
the  God  of  Israel,  have  I  declared  unto  you. 

We  had  one  burthen  of  Babylon  before,  {ch.  13.) 
here  we  have  another  prediction  of  its  fall;  Goa 
saw  fit  thus  to  possess  his  people  with  the  belief  of 
this  event  by  line  upon  line;  because  Babylon  some¬ 
times  pretended  to  be  a  friend  to  them,  (as  ch. 
Vol.  IV. — N 


xxxix.  1.)  and  God  would  hereby  warn  them  nut  to 
trust  to  that  friendship,  and  sometimes  was  really 
an  enemy  to  them,  and  God  would  hereby  warn 
them  not  to  be  afraid  of  that  enmity.  Babylon  is 
marked  for  ruin;  and  all  that  believe  God’s  pro¬ 
phets,  can,  through  that  glass,  see  it  tottering,  see 
it  tumbling,  even  then  when  with  an  eye  of  sense 
they  see  it  flourishing,  and  sitting  as  a  queen. 

Babylon  is  here  called  the  desert  or  / iluin  of  the 
sea,  for  it  was  a  flat  country,  and  full  i  f  lakes,  or 
loughs,  (as  they  call  them  in  Ireland,)  like  little 
seas,  and  was  abundantly  watered  with  the  many 
streams  of  the  river  Euphrates.  Babylon  did  but 
lately  begin  to  be  famous,  Nineveh  having  outshined 
it  while  the  monarch}’  was  in  the  Assyrian  hands; 
but  in  a  little  time  it  became  the  lady  of  kingdoms; 
and  before  it  arrived  at  that  pitch  of  eminence 
which  it  was  in  Nebuchadnezzar’s  time,  God,  by 
this  prophet,  plainly  foretold  its  fall,  again  and 
again,  that  his  people  might  not  be  terrified  at  its 
rise,  nor  despair  of  reliet  in  due  time  when  they 
were  its  prisoners,  Job.  v.  3.  Ps.  xxxvii.  £5,  36. 
Some  think  it  is  here  called  a  desert,  because, 
though  it  was  now  a  populous  city,  it  should  in  time 
be  made  a  desert.  And  therefore  the  destruction  cf 
Babylon  is  so  often  prophesied  of  by  this  evangelical 
prophet,  because  it  was  typical  of  the  destruction 
of  the  man  of  sin,  the  great  enemy  of  the  New  Tes¬ 
tament  church,  which  is  foretold  in  the  Revelation 
in  many  expressions  borrowed  from  these  prophe¬ 
cies,  which  therefore  must  be  consulted  and  collated 
by  those  who  would  understand  the  prophecy  cf 
that  book.  Here  is, 

I.  The  powerful  irruption  and  descent  which  the 
Medes  and  Persians  should  make  upon  Babylon;  ( v . 
1,  2.)  They  will  come  from  the  desert,  from  a  ter¬ 
rible  land.  The  northern  parts  of  Media  and  Per¬ 
sia,  where  their  soldiers  were  mostly  bred,  was 
waste  and  mountainous;  tenable  to  strangers  that 
were  to  pass  through  it,  and  producing  soldiers  that 
were  very  formidable.  Elam,  (Persia)  is  summrned 
to  go  up  against  Babylon,  and  in  conjunction  with 
the  forces  of  Media,  to  besiege  it;  when  God  has 
work  of  this  kind  to  do,  he  will  find,  though  it  be  in 
a  desert,  in  a  terrible  land,  proper  instruments  to 
be  employed  in  it.  These  forces  come  as  whirl¬ 
winds  from  the  south,  so  suddenly,  so  strongly,  and 
so  terribly:  such  a  mighty  noise  shall  they  make, 
and  throw  down  every  thing  that  stands  in  their 
way.  As  is  usual  in  such  a  case,  some  deserters 
will  go  over  to  them,  the  treacherous  dealers  toil l 
deal  treacherously.  Historians  tell  us  of  Gadatas 
and  Gobryas,  two  great  officers  of  the  king  of  Baby¬ 
lon,  that  went  over  to  Cyrus,  and,  being  well  ac¬ 
quainted  with  all  the  avenues  of  the  city,  led  a  party 
directly  to  the  palace,  where  Belshazzar  was  slain: 
thus  with  the  help  of  the  treacherous  dealers  the 
sfioilers  spoiled.  Some  read  it  thus,  There  shall  be 
a  deceiver  of  that  deceiver,  Babylon,  and  a  spoiler 
of  that  spoiler.  Or,  which  comes  all  to  one,  The 
treacherous  dealer  has  found  one  that  deals  treache¬ 
rously,  and  the  spoiler  one  that  spoils,  as  it  is  ex- 

gounded,  ch.  xxxiii.  1.  The  Persians  shall  p.  vthe 
abylonians  in  their  own  coin;  they  that  by  fraud 
and  violence,  cheating  and  plundering,  unrighteous 
wars  and  deceitful  treaties,  have  made  a  prey  cf 
their  neighbours,  shall  meet  with  their  match,  and 
by  the  same  methods  shall  themselves  be  made  a 
prev  of. 

II.  The  different  impressions  made  hereby  upon 
those  concerned  in  Babylon. 

1.  To  the  poor  oppressed  captives  it  would  be 
yvelcome  news;  for  they  had  been  told  long  ago  that 
Babylon’s  destroyer  would  be  their  deliverer;  and 
therefore  when  they  hear  that  Elam  and  Media  are 
coming  up  to  besiege  Babylon,  all  their  sighing  will 
be  made  to  cease;  they  shall  no  longer  mingle  their 


98 


ISAIAH,  XXL 


rears  with  Euphrates’  streams,  but  resume  their 
uarps,  and  smile  when  they  remember  Zion,  which, 
before,  they  wept  at  the  thought  of.  For  the  sigh- 
■ng  of  the  needy  the  God  of  pity  will  arise  in  due 
rime;  (Ps.  xii.  5.)  he  will  break  the  yoke  from  off 
their  neck,  will  remove  the  rod  of  the  wicked  from 
off  their  lot,  and  so  make  their  sighing  to  cease. 

2.  To  the  proud  oppressors  it  would  be  a  grievous 
vision,  (t>.  2. )  particularly  to  the  king  of  Babylon 
for  the  time  being,  and  it  should  seem  that  he  it  is 
who  is  here  brought  in,  sadly  lamenting  his  inevita¬ 
ble  fate;  (x>.  3,  4.)  Therefore  are  my  loins  foiled 
with  j lain ,  pangs  have  taken  hold  upon  me,  &c. 
which  was  literally  fulfilled  in  Belshazzar,  for  that 
very  night  in  which  his  city  was  taken,  and  himself 
slain,  upon  the  sight  of  a  hand  writing  mystic  cha-  1 
racters  upon  the  wall,  his  countenance  was  changed, 
and  his  thoughts  troubled  him,  so  that  the  joints  of 
his  loins  were  loosed,  and  his  knees  smote  one  against 
another,  Dan.  v.  6.  And  yet  that  was  but  the  be¬ 
ginning  of  sorrows;  Daniel’s  decyphering  of  the 
writing  could  not  but  increase  his  terror,  and  the 
alarm  which  immediately  followed,  of  the  execu¬ 
tioners  at  the  door,  would  be  the  completing  of  it. 
And  those  words,  The  night  of  my  pleasure  has  he 
turned  into  fear  to  me,  plainly  refer  to  that  aggra¬ 
vating  circumstance  of  Belshazzar’s  fall,  that  he 
was  slain  on  that  night  when  he  was  in  the  height 
of  his  mirth  and  jollity,  with  his  cups  and  concu¬ 
bines  about  him,  and  a  thousand  of  his  lords  revel¬ 
ling  with  him;  that  night  of  his  pleasure,  when  he  | 
promised  himself  an  undisturbed,  unallayed  enjoy¬ 
ment  of  the  most  exquisite  gratifications  of  sense, 
with  a  particular  defiance  of  God  and  religion  in  the 
profanation  of  the  temple-vessels — that  was  the 
night  that  was  turned  into  all  this  fear.  Let  this 
give  an  effectual  check  to  vain  mirth  and  sensual 
pleasures,  and  forbid  us  ever  to  lay  the  reins  on  the 
neck  of  them — that  we  know  not  what  heaviness 
the  mirth  may  end  in,  nor  how  soon  laughter  may 
be  turned  into  mourning;  but  this  we  know,  that  for 
all  these  things  God  shall  bring  us  into  judgment; 
let  us  therefore  mix  trembling  always  with  our  joys. 

III.  A  representation  of  the  posture  in  which 
Babylon  should  be  found  when  the  enemy  should 
surprise  it;  all  in  festival  gaiety;  (y.  5.)  “Prepare 
the  table  with  a}l  manner  of  dainties,  set  the  guards, 
let  them  watch  in  the  watch-tower,  while  we  eat 
and  drink  securely,  and  make  merry;  and  if  any 
alarm  should  be  given,  the  princes  shall  arise,  and 
anoint  the  shield,  and  be  in  readiness  to  give  the 
enemy  a  warm  reception.”  Thus  secure  are  they, 
and  thus  do  they  gird  on  the  harness  with  as  much 
joy  as  if  they  had  put  it  off. 

IV.  A  description  of  the  alarm  which  should  be 
given  to  Babylon,  upon  its  being  forced  by  Cyrus 
and  Darius.  The  Lord,  in  vision,  showed  the  pro¬ 
phet  the  watchman  set  in  the  watch-tower,  near 
the  palace,  as  is  usual  in  times  of  danger;  the  king 
ordered  those  about  him  to  post  a  sentinel  in  the 
most  advantageous  place  for  discovery,  and  accord¬ 
ing  to  the  duty  of  a  watchman,  let  him  declare  what 
he  sees,  v.  6.  We  read  of  a  watchman  thus  set  to 
receive  intelligence,  in  the  story  of  David,  (2  Sam. 
xviii.  24.)  and  in  the  story  of  Jehu,  2  Kings  ix.  17. 
This  watchman  here  discovered  a  chariot  with  a 
couple  of  horsemen  attending  it,  in  which  we  may 
suppose  the  commander-in-chief  to  ride;  he  then 
saw  another  chariot  drawn  by  asses  or  mules,  which 
were  much  in  use  among  the  Persians,  and  a  chariot 
drawn  by  camels,  which  were  likewise  much  in  use 
among  the  Medes;  so  that  (as  Grotius  thinks)  these  j 
two  chariots  signify  the  two  nations  combined  against 
Babylon;  or  rather,  these  chariots  come  to  bring  ti¬ 
dings  to  the  palace;  compare  Jer.  li.  31,  32.  One  \ 
post  shall  run  to  meet  another,  and  one  messenger 
:o  meet  another,  to  show  the  king  of  Babylon  that 


his  city  is  taken  at  one  end,  while  he  is  revelling  a* 
the  other  end,  and  knows  nothing  of  the  matter. 
This  watchman,  seeing  these  chariots  at  some  dis 
tance,  hearkened  diligently  with  much  heed,  to  re¬ 
ceive  the  first  tidings.  And  ( v .  8.)  he  cried,  A  lion; 
this  word,  coming  out  of  a  watchman’s  mouth,  no 
doubt  gave  them  a  certain  sound,  and  every  body 
knew  the  meaning  of  it,  though  we  do  not  know  it 
now.  It  is  likely  that  it  was  intended  to  raise  at¬ 
tention;  he  that  has  an  ear  to  hear,  let  him  hear,  as 
when  a  lion  roars :  or  he  cried  as  a  lion,  very  loud 
and  in  good  earnest;  the  occasion  being  very  urgent. 
And  what  has  he  to  say?  1.  He  professes  his  con¬ 
stancy  to  his  post  assigned  him ;  “/stand,  my  lord, 
continually  upon  the  watch-tower,  and  have  never 
discovered  any  thing  material,  till  just  now;  all 
seemed  safe  and  quiet.  ”  Some  make  it  to  be  a  com¬ 
plaint  of  the  people  of  God,  that  they  had  long  ex¬ 
pected  the  downfall  of  Babylon,  according  to  the 
prophecy,  and  it  was  not  yet  come;  but  withal  a  re¬ 
solution  to-  continue  waiting,  as  Hab.  ii.  1.  I  will 
stand  upon  my  watch,  and  set  me  upon  the  tower, 
to  see  what  will  be  the  issue  of  the  present  provi¬ 
dences.  2.  He  gives  notice  of  the  discoveries  he 
had  made;  (y.  9.)  Here  comes  a  chariot  of  men, 
with  a  couple  of  horsemen;  a  vision  representing  the 
enemy’s  entry  into  the  city  with  all  their  force,  or 
the  tidings  brought  to  the  royal  palace  of  it. 

V.  A  certain  account  is  at  length  given  of  the 
overthrow  of  Babylon.  He  in  the  chariot  answered 
and  said,  (when  he  heard  the  watchman  speak,) 
Babylon  is  fallen,  is  fallen;  or,  God  answered  thus 
to  the  prophet  inquiring  concerning  the  issue  of 
these  affairs;  “  It  is  now  come  to  this,  Babylon  is 
surely  and  irrecoverably  fallen;  Babylon’s  business  is 
done  now.  All  the  graven  itnages  of  her  gods  he 
has  broken  unto  the  ground .”  Babylon  was  the 
mother  of  harlots,  of  idolatry,  which  was  one  of  the 
grounds  of  God’s  quarrel  with  her;  but  her  idols 
shall  now  be  so  far  from  protecting  her,  that  some 
of  them  shall  be  broken  down  to  the  ground,  and 
others  of  them,  that  were  worth  carrying  away, 
shall  go  into  captivity,  and  be  a  burthen  to  the 
beasts  that  carried  them,  ch.  xlvi.  1,  2. 

VI.  Notice  is  given  to  the  people  of  God,  who 
were  then  captives  in  Babylon,  that  this  prophecy 
of  the  downfall  of  Babylon  was  particularly  intend¬ 
ed  for  their  comfort  and  encouragement,  and  they 
might  depend  upon  it,  that  it  should  be  accomplish¬ 
ed  in  due  season,  v.  10.  Observe,  1.  The  title  the 
prophet  gives  them  in  God’s  name,  O  my  threshing, 
and  the  corn  of  my  floor;  the  prophet  calls  them 
his,  because  they  were  his  countrymen,  and  such  as 
he  had  a  particular  interest  in  and  concern  for;  but 
he  speaks  it  as  from  God,  and  directs  his  speech  to 
those  that  were  Israelites  indeed,  the  faithful  in  the 
land.  Note,  (1.)  The  church  is  God’s  floor,  in 
which  the  most  valuable  fruits  and  products  of  this 
earth  are,  as  it  were,  gathered  together  and  laid  up. 
(2.)  True  believers  are  the  corn  of  God’s  floor;  hv 
pocrites  are  but  as  the  chaff  and  straw,  which  take 
up  a  great  deal  of  room,  but  are  of  small  value,  with 
which  the  wheat  is  now  mixed,  but  from  which  it 
shall  be  shortly  and  for  ever  separated.  (3. )  The 
corn  of  God’s  floor  must  expect  to  be  threshed  by 
afflictions  and  persecutions.  God’s  Israel  of  old  was 
afflicted  from  her  youth,  often  under  the  plougher’s 
plough,  (Ps.  cxxix.  3. )  and  the  thresher’s  flail.  (4. ) 
Even  then  God  owns  it  for  his  threshing,  it  is  his 
still;  nay,  the  threshing  of  it  is  by  his  appointment, 
and  under  his  restraint  and  direction.  The  thresh¬ 
ers  could  have  no  power  against  it,  but  what  is  given 
them  from  above.  2.  The  assurance  he  gives  them 
of  the  truth  of  what  he  had  delivered  to  them, 
which  therefore  they  might  build  their  hopes  upon, 
That  which  I  have  heard  of  the  Lord  of  hosts,  the 
God  of  Israel,  that,  and  nothing  else,  that,  and  no 


99 


ISAIAH,  XXI 


fiction  of  fancy  o'"  my  own,  have  I  declared  unto 
you.  Note,  In  all  events  concerning  the  church, 
past,  present,  and  to  come,  we  must  have  an  eye  to 
God,  both  as  the  Lord  of  hosts  and  as  the  God  of 
Israel,  who  has  power  enough  to  do  any  thing  for 
his  church,  and  grace  enough  to  do  every  thing  that 
is  for  her  good.  Let  us  also  diligently  notice  the 
words  of  his  prophets,  as  words  received  from  the 
Lord.  As  they  dare  not  smother  any  thing  which 
he  has  intrusted  them  to  declare,  so  they  dare  not 
declare  any  thing  as  from  him,  which  he  has  not 
made  known  to  them,  I  Cor.  xi.  23. 

11.  The  burden  of  Duniah.  He  calleth 
to  me  out  of  Seir,  Watchman,  what  of  the 
night?  watchman,  what  of  the  night  ?  12. 
The  watchman  said,  The  morning  cometh, 
and  also  the  night :  if  ye  will  inquire,  in¬ 
quire  ye:  return,  come. 

This  prophecy  concerning  Dumah  is  very  short, 
and  withal  dark  and  hard  to  be  understood.  Some 
think  that  Dumah  is  a  part  of  Arabia,  and  that  the 
inhabitants  descended  from  Dumah  the  sixth  son 
of  Ishmael,  as  those  of  Kedar  (v.  16,  17.)  from  Ish- 
mael’s  second  son,  Gen.  xxv.  13,  14.  Others,  be- 
c  mse  mount  S.'ir  is  here  mentioned,  by  Dumah  un¬ 
derstand  Idumea,  the  country  of  the  Edomites. 
Some  of  Israel’s  neighbours  are  certainly  meant, 
whose  distress  is  foretold,  not  only  for  warning  to 
them  to  prepare  them  for  it,  but  for  warning  to  Is¬ 
rael  not  to  depend  upon  them,  or  any  of  the  nations 
about  them,  for  relief  in  a  time  of  danger,  but  upon 
God  only.  We  must  see  all  creature-confidences 
failing  Us",  and  feel  them  breaking  under  us,  that 
we  may  not  lay  more  weight  upon  them  than  they 
will  bear.  Rut  though  the  explication  of  this  pro¬ 
phecy  be  difficult,  because  we  have  no  history  in 
which  we  find  the  accomplishment  of  it,  yet  the  ap¬ 
plication  will  be  easy.  We  have  here, 

1.  A  question  put  by  an  Edomite  to  the  watch¬ 
man.  Some  one  or  other  calls  out  of  Seir, 
somebody  that  was  more  concerned  for  the  public 
safety  and  welfare  than  the  rest,  who  were  gene¬ 
rally"  careless  and  secure;  as  the  man  of  Macedonia, 
in  a  vision,  desired  Paul  to  come  over  and  help 
them,  (Acts  xvi.  9.)  so  this  man  of  mount  Seir,  in  a 
vision,  desired  the  prophet  to  inform  and  intruct 
them.  He  calls  not  many;  it  is  well  there  are  any, 
that  all  are  not  alike  unconcerned  about  the  things 
that  belong  to  the  public  peace.  Some  out  of  Seir 
ask  advice  of  God’s  prophets,  and  are  willing  to  be 
taught,  when  many  of  God’s  Israel  heed  nothing. 
The  question  is  serious.  What  of  the  night?  It  is 
put  to  a  proper  person,  the  watchman,  whose  office 
it  is  to  answer  such  inquiries:  he  repeats  the  ques¬ 
tion,  as  one  in  care,  as  one  in  earnest,  and  desires  to 
have  an  answer.  Note,  (1.)  God’s  prophets  and  min¬ 
isters  are  appointed  to  be  watchmen,  and  we  are  to 
look  upon  them  as  such.  They  are  as  watchmen 
in  the  city  in  a  time  of  peace,  to  see  that  all  be  safe, 
to  knock  at  every  door  by  personal  inquiries;  (“  Is 
it  locked?  Is  the  fire  safer”)  to  direct  those  that 
are  at  a  loss,  and  check  those  that  are  disorderly, 
Cant.  iii.  3. — v.  7.  They  are  as  watchmen  in  the 
camp  in  time  of  war;  (Ezek.  xxxiii.  7.)  they  are  to 
take  notice  of  the  motions  of  the  enemy,  and  to  give 
notice  of  them,  to  make  discoveries,  and  then 
give  warning;  and  in  this  they  must  deny  them¬ 
selves.  (2.)  It  is  our  duty  to  inquire  of  the  watch¬ 
men,  especially  to  ask  again  and  again,  What  of 
the  night?  For  watchmen  wake  when  others  sleep. 
[1.]  What  time  of  the  night?  After  a  long  sleep  in 
sin  an  security,  is  it  not  time  to  rise,  high  time  to 
awake  out  of  sleep?  Rom.  xiii.  11.  We  have  a 
great  deal  of  work  to  do,  a  long  journey  to  go;  is  it 


not  time  to  be  stirring?  “Watchman,  what  o’clock 
is  it?  After  a  long  dark  night  is  there  any  hopes  of 
the  day  dawning?”  [2.]  What  tidings  of  the  night? 
What  from  the  night?  So  some.  “  What  vision 
has  the  prophet  had  to-night?  We  are  readv  to 
receive  it.”  Or  rather,  “What  occurs  to-night? 
What  weather  is  it?  What  news?”  We  must  ex¬ 
pect  an  alarm,  and  never  be  secure;  the  day  of 
the  Lord  will  come  as  a  thief  in  the  night;  we  must 
prepare  to  receive  the  alarm,  and  resolve  to  keep 
our  ground,  and  then  take  the  first  hint  of  danger, 
and  to  our  arms  presently,  to  our  spiritual  wea¬ 
pons. 

2.  The  watchman’s  answer  to  this  question.  The 
watchman  was  neither  asleep  nor  dumb;  though  it 
was  a  man  of  mount  Seir  that  called  to  him,  he  was 
ready  to  give  him  an  answer;  The  morning  comes. 
He  answers,  (1.)  By  way  of  prediction;  “there 
comes  first  a  morning  of  light,  and  peace,  and  op¬ 
portunity,  you  will  enjoy  one  day  of  comfort  more; 
but  afterward  comes  a  night  of  trouble  and  cala¬ 
mity.”  Note,  In  the  course  of  God’s  providence,  it 
is  usual  that  morning  and  night  are  counter- 
changed,  and  succeed  each  other.  Is  it  night? 
Yet  the  morning  comes,  and  the  day-spring  knows 
his  place,  Ps.  xxx.  5.  Is  it  day?  Yet  the  night 
comes  also:  if  there  be  a  morning  of  youth  and 
health,  there  will  come  a  night  of  sickness  and  old 
age;  if  a  morning  of  prosperity  in  the  family,  in  the 
public,  yet  we  must  look  for  changes.  But  God 
usually  gives  a  morning  of  opportunity  before  he 
sends  a  night  of  calamity,  that  his  own  people  may 
be  prepared  for  the  storm,  and  others  left  inex¬ 
cusable.  (3.)  By  way  of  excitement;  If  ye  will  in¬ 
quire,  inquire  ye.  Note,  It  is  our  wisdom  to  im¬ 
prove  the  present  morning  in  preparation  for  the 
night  that  is  coming  after  it;  “ Inquire ,  return, 
come.  Be  inquisitive,  be  penitent,  be  willing  and 
obedient.”  The  manner  of  expression  is  very  ob¬ 
servable,  but  we  are  put  to  our  choice  what  we  will 
do;  “  If  ye  will  inquire,  inquire  ye;  if  not,  it  is  at 
your  peril ;  you  cannot  say  but  you  have  a  fair  offer 
made  you.”  We  are  also  urged  to  be  at  a  point; 
“  If  you  will,  say  so,  and  do  not  stand  pausing;  what 
you  will  do,  do  quickly,  for  it  is  no  time  to  trifle.” 
Those  that  return  and  come  to  God,  will  find  they 
have  a  great  deal  of  work  to  do,  a^but  a  little  time 
to  do  it  in,  and  therefore  they  mave  need  to  be 
busy. 

1 3.  The  burden  upon  Arabia.  In  the  forest 
in  Arabia  shall  ye  lodge,  O  ye  travelling  com¬ 
panies  of  Dedanini.  14.  The  inhabitants  of 
the  land  of  Tenia  brought  water  to  him  that 
was  thirsty,  they  prevented  with  their  bread 
him  that  fled.  15.  For  they  fled  from  the 
swords,  from  the  drawn  sword,  and  from 
the  bent  bow,  and  from  the  grievousness  of 
war.  16.  For  thus  hath  the  Lord  said 
unto  me,  Within  a  year,  according  to  the 
years  of  a  hireling,  and  all  the  glory  of 
Kedar  shall  fail :  17.  And  the  residue  of 

the  number  of  archers,  the  mighty  men  of 
the  children  of  Kedar,  shall  be  diminish¬ 
ed  :  for  the  Lord  God  of  Israel  hath  spo¬ 
ken  it. 

Arabia  was  a  large  country,  that  lay  eastward 
and  southward  of  the  land  of  Canaan;  much  of  it 
was  possessed  by  the  posterity  of  Abraham.  The 
Dedanim  here  mentioned,  (v.  13.)  descended  from 
Dedan,  Abraham’s  son  by  Iveturah;  the  inhabitants 
of  Tema  and  Kedar  descended  from  Ishmael,  Gen. 


i  ou  ISAIAH,  XXII. 


xxv.  3,  13,  15.  The  Arabians  generally  lived  in 
tents,  and  kept  cattle,  were  a  hardy  people,  inured 
to  labour;  probably  the  Jews  depended  upon  them 
as  a  soil  of  a  wall  between  them  and  the  more  war¬ 
like  eastern  nations;  and  therefore,  to  alarm  them, 
they  shall  hear  the  burthen  of  Arabia,  and  see  it 
sinking  under  its  own  burthen. 

1.  A  destroying  army  shall  be  brought  upon 
them,  with  a  sword,  with  a  drawn  sword,  with  a 
bow  ready  bent,  and  with  all  the  grievousness  of 
war,  v.  15.  It  is  probable  that  the  king  of  Assyria, 
in  some  of  the  marches  of  his  formidable  and  victo¬ 
rious  army,  took  Arabia  in  his  way,  and  meeting 
with  little  resistance,  made  an  easy  prey  of  them. 
The  consideration  of  the  grievousness  of  war  should 
make  us  thankful  for  the  blessings  of  peace. 

2.  The  poor  country  people  will  hereby  be  forced 
to  flee  for  shelter  wherever  they  can  find  a  place; 
so  that  the  travelling  com/ianies  of  Dedanim,  which 
used  to  keep  the  high-roads  with  their  caravans, 
shall  be  obliged  to  quit  them,  and  lodge  in  the  forest 
in  Arabia,  (v.  13.)  and  shall  not  have  the  wonted 
convenience  of  their  own  tents,  poor  and  weather¬ 
beaten  as  they  are. 

3.  They  shall  stand  in  need  of  refreshment,  being 
ready  to  perish  for  want  of  it,  in  their  flight  from 
the  invading  army ;  “  0  ye  inhabitants  of  the  land  of 
Tenia,”  (who  probably,  were  next  neighbours  to  the 
companies  of  Dedanim,)  “bring  ye  water”  (so  the 
margin  reads  it)  “  to  him  that  is  thirsty,  and  firevent 
with  your  bread  those  that  flee,  for  they  are  objects 
of  your  compassion  :  they  do  not  wander  for  wan¬ 
dering  sake,  nor  are  they  reduced  to  straits  by  any 
extravagance  of  their  own,  but  they  flee  from  the 
sword.”  Tema  was  a  country  where  water  was 
sometimes  a  scarce  commodity,  (as  we  find,  Job  vi. 
19.)  and  we  may  conclude  it  would  be  in  a  particu¬ 
lar  manner  acceptable  to  these  poor  distressed  re¬ 
fugees.  Let  us  learn  hence,  (1.)  To  look  for  dis¬ 
tress  ourselves;  we  know  not  what  straits  we  may 
be  brought  into  before  we  die.  Those  that  live  in 
cities,  may  be  forced  to  lodge  in  forests;  and  those 
may  know  the  want  of  necessary  food,  who  now  eat 
bread  to  the  full.  Our  mountain  stands  not  so  strong 
but  that  it  may  be  moved,  rises  not  so  high  but  that 
it  may  be  scaled.  These  Arabians  would  the  bet¬ 
ter  bear  these  calamities,  because  in  their  way  of 
living  thsy  had  Uwd  themselves  to  hardships.  (2.) 
To  look  with  compassion  upon  those  that  are  in  dis¬ 
tress,  and  with  all  cheerfulness  to  relieve  them,  not 
knowing  how  soon  their  case  may  be  ours;  “  Bring 
water  to  them  that  are  thirsty,  and  not  only  give 
bread  to  those  that  need  and  ask  it,  but  prevent 
those  with  it  that  have  need,  give  it  them  unask¬ 
ed.  ”  They  that  do  so,  shall  find  it  remembered 
to  their  praise,  as  (according  to  our  reading)  it  is 
here  remembered  to  the  praise  of  the  land  of  Tema, 
that  they  did  bring  water  to  the  thirsty,  and  re¬ 
lieved  even  those  that  were  on  the  falling  side. 

4.  All  that  which  is  the  glory  of  Kedar  shall  van¬ 
ish  away  and  fail.  Did  they  glory  in  their  numer¬ 
ous  herds  and  flocks?  They  shall  all  be  driven 
away  by  the  enemy.  It  seems,  they  were  famous 
above  other  nations  for  the  use  of  the  bow  in  battle; 
but  their  archers,  instead  of  foiling  the  enemy, 
shall  fall  themselves;  and  the  residue  of  their  num¬ 
ber,  when  they  are  reduced  to  a  small  number, 
shall  be  diminished;  (x>.  17.)  their  mighty,  able- 
bodied  men,  and  men  of  spirit  too,  shall  become 
very  few;  for  they  being  most  forward  in  the  de¬ 
fence  of  their  country,  were  most  exposed,  and  fell 
first,  either  by  the  enemies’  sword,  or  into  the 
enemies’  hand.  Note,  Neither  the  skill  of  archers, 
(though  they  be  ever  so  good  marksmen,)  nor  the 
courage  of  mighty  men,  can  protect  a  people  from 
the  judgments  of  God,  when  they  come  with  com¬ 
mission';  they  rather  expose  the  undertakers.  That 


is  poor  glory,  which  will  thus  quickly  come  to 
nothing. 

5.  All  this  shall  be  done  in  a  little  time;  “  Within 
one  year,  according  to  the  years  of  a  hireling,  (with¬ 
in  one  year,  precisely  reckoned,)  this  judgment 
shall  come  upon  Kedar.”  If  this  fixing  of  the  time 
be  of  no  great  use  to  us  now,  (because  we  find  not 
either  when  the  prophecy  was  delivered,  or  when  it 
was  accomplished,)  yet  it  might  be  of  great  use  to 
the  Arabians  then,  to  awaken  them  to  repentance, 
that,  like  the  men  of  Nineveh,  they  might  prevent 
the  judgment,  when  they  were  thus  told  it  was  just 
at  the  door.  Or,  when  it  begins  to  be  fulfilled,  the 
business  shall  be  done,  be  begun  and  ended  in  one 
year’s  time.  God,  when  he  pleases,  can  do  a  great 
work  in  a  little  time. 

6.  It  is  all  ratified  by  the  truth  of  God;  (x>.  16.) 
“  Thus  hath  the  Lord  said  to  me;  you  may  take  my 
word  for  it,  that  it  is  his  word;”  and  we  may  be 
sure  no  word  of  his  shall  fall  to  the  ground.  And 
again,  (x>.  17.)  The  Lord  God  of  Israel  hath  sfioken 
it;  as  the  God  of  Israel,  in  pursuance  of  his  gra¬ 
cious  designs  concerning  them;  and  we  may  be  sure 
the  Strength  of  Israel  will  not  lie. 

CHAP.  XXII. 

We  are  now  come  nearer  home,  for  this  chapter  is  the 
burthen  of  the  valley  of  vision,  Jerusalem;  other  places 
had  their  burthen  for  the  sake  of  their  being  concerned 
some  way  or  other  with  Jerusalem,  and  were  reckoned 
with  either  as  spiteful  enemies,  or  deceitful  friends,  to 
the  people  of  God;  but  now  let  Jerusalem  hear  her 
doom.  This  chapter  concerns,  I.  The  city  of  Jerusalem 
itself,  and  the  neighbourhood  depending  upon  it.  Here 
is,  1.  A  prophecy  of  the  grievous  distress  they  should 
shortly  be  brought  into,  by  Sennacherib’s  invasion  of  the 
country,  and  laying  siege  to  the  city,  v.  1..7.  Are- 
proof  given  them  for  their  misconduct  in  that  distress, 
in  two  things,  (1.)  Not  having  an  eye  to  God  in  the  use 
of  the  means  of  their  preservation,  v.  8.  .  11.  (2.)  not 
humbling  themselves  under  his  mighty  hand,  v.  12...  14. 
II.  The  court  of  Hezekiah,  and  the  officers  of  that  court: 
1.  The  displacing  of  Shebna,  a  bad  man,  and  turning 
him  out  of  the  treasury,  v.  15. .  19,  25.  2.  The  preferring 
of  Eliakim  to  his  place,  who  should  do  his  country  bet¬ 
ter  service,  v.  20. . .  24. 

l.r¥^HE  burden  of  the  valley  of  vision. 

JL  What  aileth  thee  now,  that  thou 
art  wholly  gone  up  to  the  house-tops  ?  2. 

Thou  that  art  full  of  stirs,  a  tumultuous  city, 
a  joyous  city  :  thy  slain  men  are  not  slain 
with  the  sword,  nor  dead  in  battle.  3. 
All  thy  rulers  are  fled  together,  they  are 
bound  by  the  archers :  all  that  are  found  in 
thee  are  bound  together,  which  have  fled 
from  far.  4.  Therefore  said  I,  Look  away 
from  me  ;  1  will  weep  bitterly,  labour  not 
to  comfort  me  ;  because  of  the  spoiling  of 
the  daughter  of  my  people.  5.  For  it  is 
a  day  of  trouble,  and  of  treading  down, 
and  of  perplexity  by  the  Lord  God  of  hosts 
in  the  valley  of  vision,  breaking  down  the 
walls,  and  of  crying  to  the  mountains. 
6.  And  Elam  bare  the  quiver  with  cha¬ 
riots  of  men  anil  horsemen,  and  Kir  unco¬ 
vered  the  shield.  7.  And  it  shall  come  to 
pass,  that  thy  choicest  valleys  shall  be  full 
of  chariots,  and  the  horsemen  shall  set 
themselves  in  array  at  the  gate. 

The  title  of  this  prophecy  is  very  observable;  it 
is  the  burthen  of  the  valley  of  vision,  of  Judah  and 


ISAIAH 

Jerusalem;  all  so  agree.  Fitly  enough  is  Jerusa¬ 
lem  called  a  valley;  for  the  mountains  were  round 
about  it;  and  the  land  of  Judah  abounded  with  fruit¬ 
ful  valleys.  And  by  the  judgments  of  God,  though 
they  h  id  been  as  a  towering  mountain,  they  should 
be  brought  low,  sunk  and  depressed,  and  become 
dark  and  dirty,  as  a  valley.  But  most  emphati¬ 
cally  it  is  called  a  valley  of  vision,  because  there 
God  was  known,  and  his  name  great;  there  the 
prophets  were  made  acquainted  with  his  mind  by 
visions,  and  there  the  people  saw  the  goings  of  their 
God  and  King  in  his  sanctuary.  Babylon,  being  a 
stt  anger  to  God,  though  rich  and  great,  was  called 
the  desert  of  the  sea;  but  Jerusalem,  being  intrusted 
with  his  oracles,  is  a  valley  of  vision;  blessed  are 
their  eyes,  for  they  see,  and  they  have  seers  by  office 
among  them.  Where  Bibles  and  ministers  are, 
there  is  a  valley  of  vision,  from  which  is  expected 
fruit  accordingly;  but  here  is  a  burthen  of  the  val¬ 
ley  of  vision,  and  a  heavy  burthen  it  is.  Note, 
Church-privileges,  if  they  be  not  improved,  will 
not  secure  men  from  the  judgments  of  God;  You 
only  have  I  known  of  all  the  families  of  the  earth, 
therefore  mill  I  punish  you.  The  valley  of  vision 
has  a  p  irticular  burthen;  Thou  Capernaum,  Matt, 
xi..  23.  The  higher  any  are  lifted  up  in  means 
and  mercies,  the  heavier  will  their  doom  be  if  they 
abuse  them. 

Now  the  burthen  of  the  valley  of  vision  here,  is 
that  which  will  not  quite  ruin  it,  but  frighten  it;  for 
it  refers  not  to  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem  by  Ne¬ 
buchadnezzar,  but  to  the  attempt  made  upon  it  by 
Sennacherib,  which  we  had  the  prophecy  of,  (ch. 
10. )  and  shall  meet  with  the  history  of,  ch.  36.  It  is 
here  again  prophecied  of,  because  the  desolation  of 
many  of  the  neighbouring  countries,  which  were 
foretold  in  the  foregoing  chapters,  were  to  be  brought 
to  pass  by  the  Assyrian  army.  Now  let  Jerusalem 
know,  that  when  the  cup  is  going  round,  it  will  be 
put  into  her  hand,  and  though  it  will  not  be  to  her  a 
fatal  cup,  yet  it  will  be  a  cup  of  trembling.  Here 
is  foretold, 

1.  The  consternation  that  the  city  should  be  in 
upon  the  approach  of  Sennacherib’s  army.  It  used 
to  be  full  of  stirs,  a  city  of  great  trade,  people  hur¬ 
rying  to  and  fro  about  their  business,  a  tumultuous 
city,  populous  and  noisy ;  where  there  is  great  trade, 
there  is  great  tumult.  It  used  to  be  a  joyous  re¬ 
velling  city,  made  such  by  the  busy  part,  and  the 
merry  part,  of  mankind;  places  of  concourse  are 
places  of  noise.  “  But  what  ails  thee  now,  that  the 
shops  are  quitted,  and  there  is  no  more  walking  in 
the  streets  and  exchange,  but  thou  art  wholly  gone 
up  to  the  house-tops,  (v.  1.)  to  bemoan  thyself  in 
silence  and  solitude,  or  to  secure  thyself  from  the 
enemy,  or  to  look  abroad,  and  see  if  any  succours 
come  to  thy  relief,  or  which  way  the  enemies’  mo¬ 
tions  are.”  Let  both  men  of  business  and  sports¬ 
men  rejoice  as  though  they  rejoiced  not,  for  some¬ 
thing  may  happen  quickly,  which  they  little  think 
of,  that  will  be  a  damp  to  their  mirth,  and  a  stop  to 
their  business,  and  send  them  to  match  as  a  sparrow 
alone  upon  the  house-top,  Ps.  cii.  7. 

But  why  is  Jerusalem  in  such  a  fright?  Her  slain 
men  are  not  slain  with  the  sword,  {v.  2.)  but,  (1.) 
Slain  with  famine;  so  some;  for  Sennacherib’s  army 
having  laid  the  country  waste,  and  destroyed  the 
fruits  of  the  earth,  provisions  must  needs  be  very 
scarce  and  dear  in  the  city,  which  would  be  the 
death  of  many  of  the  pooret  sort  of  people,  who 
would  be  constrained  to  feed  on  that  which  was 
unwholesome.  (2.)  Slain  with  fear;  they  were  put 
into  this  fright,  though  they  had  not  a  man  killed, 
but  were  so  disheartened  themselv  s,  that  they 
seemed  as  effectually  stabbed  with  fear  as  if  they 
had  been  run  through  with  a  sword. 

2.  The  inglorious  flight  of  the  rulers  of  Judah, 


,  XXII.  101 

who  fled  from  far,  from  all  parts  of  the  country,  to 
Jerusalem,  (v.  6.)  fled  together,  as  it  were  by  con¬ 
sent,  and  were  found  in  Jerusalem,  having  left  theii 
respective  cities,  which  they  should  have  taken  care 
of,  to  be  a  prey  to  the  Assyrian  army,  which,  meet¬ 
ing  with  no  opposition,  when  it  came  up  against 
all  the  clefenced  cities  of  Judah,  easily  took  them,  ch. 
xxxvi.  1.  These  rulers  were  bound  from  the  bow; 
so  the  word  is;  they  not  only  quitted  their  own  ci¬ 
ties  like  cowards,  but,  when  they  came  to  Jerusa¬ 
lem,  were  of  no  service  there,  but  were  as  if  their 
hands  were  tied  from  the  use  of  the  bow,  by  the 
extreme  distraction  and  confusion  they  were  in; 
they  trembled,  so  that  they  could  not  draw  a  bow. 
See  how  easily  God  can  dispirit  men,  and  how  cer¬ 
tainly  fear  will  do  it,  when  the  tyranny  of  it  is  yield¬ 
ed  to. 

3.  'Pile  great  grief  which  this  should  occasion  to 
all  serious,  sensible  people,  among  them;  which  is 
represented  by  the  prophet’s  laying  the  thing  to 
heart  himself;  he  lived  to  see  it, "and  was  resolved 
to  share  with  the  children  of  his  people  in  their 
sorrows,  v.  4,  5.  He  is  not  willing  to  proclaim  his 
sorrow,  and  therefore  bids  those  about  him  to  look 
away  from  him;  he  will  abandon  himself  to  grief, 
and  indulge  himself  in  it,  will  weep  secretly,  but 
weep  bitterly,  and  will  have  none  go  about  to  com¬ 
fort  him,  for  his  grief  is  not  obstinate,  and  he  is 
pleased  with  his  pain.  But  what  is  the  occasion  of 
his  grief?  A  poor  prophet  had  little  to  lose,  and  had 
been  inured  to  hardship,  when  he  walked  naked 
and  barefoot;  but  it  is  for  the  spoiling  of  the  daugh¬ 
ter  of  his  people.  Note,  Public  grievances  should 
be  our  griefs.  It  is  a  day  of  trouble  and  of  tread¬ 
ing  down,  and  of  perplexity ;  our  enemies  trouble 
us,  and  tread  us  down,  and  our  friends  are  perplex¬ 
ed,  and  know  not  what  course  to  take,  to  do  us  a 
kindness;  the  Lord  God  of  hosts  is  now  contending 
with  the  valley  of  vision;  the  enemies  with  their 
battering-rams  are  breaking  down  the  walls,  and 
we  are  in  vain  crying  to  the  mountains,  (to  keep  off 
the  enemy,  or  to  fall  on  us  and  cover  us,)  or  looking 
for  help  to  come  to  us  over  the  mountains,  or  ap¬ 
pealing,  as  God  does,  to  the  mountains,  to  hear  our 
controversy,  (Micah  vi.  1.)  and  to  judge  between 
us  and  our  injurious  neighbours. 

4.  The  great  numbers  and  strength  of  the  enemv, 
that  should  invade  their  country' and  besiege  their 
city,  v.  6,  7.  Elam,  the  Persians,  come  with  their 
quiver  full  of  arrows,  and  with  chariots  of  fighting 
men,  and  horsemen;  Kir,  the  Medes,  muster  up 
their  arms,  unsheath  the  sword,  and  uncover  the 
shield,  and  get  every  thing  ready  for  battle,  every 
thing  ready  for  the  besieging  of  Jerusalem:  then 
the  choice  valleys  about  Jerusalem,  that  used  to  be 
clothed  with  flocks,  and  covered  over  with  corn, 
shall  be  full  of  chariots  of  war,  and  at  the  gate  of 
the  city  the  horsemen  shall  set  themselves  in  array, 
to  cut  off  all  provisions  from  going  in,  and  to  force 
their  way  in.  What  a  condition  must  the  city  be 
in,  that  was  beset  on  all  sides  with  such  an  army? 

8.  And  he  discovered  the  covering  of  Ju¬ 
dah,  and  thou  didst  look  in  that  day  to  the 
armour  of  the  house  of  the  forest.  9.  Ye 
have  seen  also  the  breaches  of  the  city  of 
David,  that  they  are  many;  and  ye  gather¬ 
ed  together  the  waters  of  the  lower  pool : 
10.  And  ye  have  numbered  the  houses  of 
Jerusalem,  and  the  houses  have  ye  broken 
down  to  fortify  the  wall.  1 1 .  Ye  made  alsc 
a  ditch  between  the  two  walls  for  tne  water 
of  the  old  pool :  but  ye  have  not  looked  unto 
the  maker  thereof,  neither  had  respect  unto 


102 


ISAIAH,  XXII. 


him  that  fashioned  it  long  ago.  12.  And  in 
that  day  did  the  Lord  God  of  hosts  call  to 
weeping,  and  to  mourning,  and  to  baldness, 
and  to  girding  with  sackcloth:  13.  And, 
behold,  joy  and  gladness,  slaying  oxen  and 
killing  sheep,  eating  flesh  and  drinking  wine : 
let  us  eat  and  drink,  for  to-morrow  we  shall 
die.  14.  And  it  was  revealed  in  mine  ears 
by  the  Lord  of  hosts,  Surely  this  iniquity 
shall  not  be  purged  from  you  till  ye  die,saith 
the  Lord  God  of  hosts. 

What  is  meant  by  the  covering  of  Judah,  which, 
in  the  beginning  of  this  paragraph,  is  said  to  be  dis¬ 
covered,  is  not  agreed.  The  fenced  cities  of  Judah 
were  a  covering  to  the  country;  but  those  being  ta¬ 
ken  by  the  army  of  the  Assyrians,  they  ceased  to 
be  a  shelter;  so  that  the  whole  country  lay  exposed 
to  be  plundered.  The  weakness  of  Judah,  its  na¬ 
kedness,  and  inability  to  help  itself,  now  appeared 
more  than  ever;  and  thus  the  covering  of  Judah 
was  discovered.  Its  magazines  and  stores,  which 
had  been  locked  up,  were  now  laid  open  for  the 
public  use.  Dr.  Lightfoot  gives  another  sense  of  it, 
that  by  this  distress  into  which  Judah  should  be 
brought,  God  would  discover  their  covering,  uncloak 
their  hypocrisy,  would  show  all  that  was  in  their 
heart,  as  is  said  of  Hezekiah  upon  another  occasion, 
2  Chron.  xxxii.  31.  Now  they  discovered  both 
their  carnal  confidence,  (v.  9.)  and  their  carnal  se¬ 
curity,  v.  13.  Thus,  by  one  means  or  other,  the 
iniquity  of  Ephraim  will  be  discovered,  and  the  sin 
of  Samaria,  Hos.  vii.  1. 

They  were  now  in  a  great  fright,  and  in  this  fright 
they  discovered  two  things  much  amiss: 

I.  A  great  contempt  of  God’s  goodness,  and  his 
power  to  help  them.  They  made  use  of  the  means 
they  could  think  of  for  their  own  preservation;  and 
it  is  not  that  that  they  are  blamed  for,  but,  in  doing 
this,  they  did  not  acknowledge  God.  Observe, 

1.  How  careful  they  were  to  improve  all  advan¬ 
tages  that  might  contribute  to  their  safety.  When 
Sennacherib  had  made  himself  master  of  all  the 
defenced  cities  of  Judah,  and  Jerusalem  was  left  as 
a  cottage  in  a  vineyard,  they  thought  it  was  time  to 
look  about  them;  a  council  was  immediately  called, 
a  council  of  war;  and  it  was  resolved  to  stand  upon 
their  defence,  and  not  tamely  to  surrender.  Pur¬ 
suant  to  this  resolve,  they  took  all  the  prudent  mea¬ 
sures  they  could  for  their  own  security.  We  tempt 
God,  if,  in  times  of  danger,  we  do  not  the  best  we 
can  for  ourselves.  (1.)  They  inspected  the  maga¬ 
zines  and. stores,  to  see  if  thev  were  well  stocked 
with  arms  and  ammunition.  They  looked  to  the  ar¬ 
mour  of  the  house  of  the  forest,  which  Solomon  built 
in  Jerusalem  for  an  armoury,  (1  Kings  x.  17.)  and 
thence  they  delivered  out  what  they  had  occasion 
for.  It  is  the  wisdom  of  princes,  in  time  of  peace, 
to  provide  for  war,  that  they  may  not  have  arms  to 
seek  when  they  should  use  them,  and  perhaps  upon 
a  sudden  emergency.  (2.)  Thev  viewed  the  forti¬ 
fications,  the  breaches  of  the  city  of  David;  they 
walked  round  the  walls,  and  observed  where  they 
were  gone  to  decay,  for  want  of  seasonable  repairs, 
or  broken  by  some  former  attempts  made  upon 
them.  These  breaches  were  many;  the  more  shame 
f  r  the  house  of  David,  that  they  suffered  the  city 
of  David  to  lie  neglected.  They  had,  probable, 
often  seen  those  breaches;  but  now  they  saw  them 
to  consider  what  course  to  take  about  them.  This 
good  we  should  get  by  public  distresses,  we  should 
be  awakened  by  them  to  refiair  our  breaches,  and 
amend  what  is  amiss.  (3.)  Thev  made  sure  of 
water  for  the  city,  and  did  what  they  could  to  de¬ 


prive  the  besiegers  of  it;  Ye  gathered  together  the 
waters  of  the  lower  pool,  of  which  there  was,  pro¬ 
bably,  no  great  store,  and  of  which,  therefore,  they 
were  the  more  concerned  to  be  good  husbands.  See 
what  a  mercy  it  is,  that,  as  nothing  is  more  neces¬ 
sary  to  the  support  of  human  life  than  water,  so 
nothing  is  more  cheap  and  common;  but  it  is  bad 
indeed  when  that,  as  here,  is  a  scarce  commodity. 
(4.)  They  numbered  the  houses  of  Jerusalem,  that 
every  house  might  send  in  their  quota  of  men  for 
the  public  sen  ice,  or  contribute  in  money  to  it; 
which  they  raised  by  a  poll,  so  much  a  head,  or  so 
much  a  house.  (5.)  Because  private  property  ought 
to  give  way  to  the  public  safety,  those  houses  that 
stood  in  their  way,  when  the  wall  was  to  be  fortified, 
were  broken  down;  which,  in  such  a  case  of  neces¬ 
sity,  is  no  more  an  injury  to  the  owner,  than  blow¬ 
ing  up  houses  in  case  of  fire.  (6.)  They  made  a 
ditch  between  the  outer  and  inner  wall,  for  the 
greater  security  of  the  city;  and  they  contrived  to 
draw  the  water  of  the  old  pool  to  it,  that  they 
might  have  plenty  of  water  themselves,  and  might 
deprive  the  besiegers  of  it;  for,  it  seems,  that  was 
the  project,  lest  the  Assyrian  army  should  come  and 
find  much  water,  (2  Chron.  xxxii.  4.)  and  so  should 
be  the  better  able  to  prolong  the  siege.  If  it  be 
lawful  to  destroy  the  forage  of  a  country,  much 
more  to  divert  the  streams  of  its  waters,  for  the 
straitening  and  starving  of  an  enemy. 

2.  How  regardless  they  were  of  God  in  all  these 
preparations;  but  ye  have  not  looked  unto  the 
Maker  thereof;  of  Jerusalem,  (the  city  yru  are  so 
solicitous  for  the  defence  of,)  and  of  all  the  advan¬ 
tages  which  nature  has  furnished  it  with  for  its  de¬ 
fence;  the  mountains  round  about  it,  (Ps.  exxv.  2.) 
and  the  rivers,  which  were  such  as  the  inhabitants 
might  turn  which  way  soever  they  pleased  for  their 
convenience.  Note,  (1.)  It  is  God  that  made  his 
Jerusalem,  and  fashioned  it  long  ago,  in  his  coun¬ 
sels.  The  Jewish  writers,  upon  this  place,  sav, 
There  were  seven  things  which  God  made  before 
the  world;  meaning  which  he  had  in  his  eye  when 
he  made  the  world,  the  garden  of  Eden,  the  law, 
the  just  ones,  Israel,  the  throne  of  glory,  Jerusa- 
sa/em,  and  Messiah  the  Prince.  The  gospel-church 
has  God  for  its  Maker.  (2.)  Whatever  service  we 
do,  or  endeavour  to  do,  at  any  time,  for  God’s  Je¬ 
rusalem,  it  must  be  with  an  eve  to  him  as  the 
Maker  of  it;  and  he  takes  it  ill  if  we  do  not.  It  is 
charged  upon  them  here,  that  they  did  not  look  to 
God.  [l.j  They  did  not  design  his  glory,  in  what 
they  did.  They  fortified  Jerusalem  because  it  was 
a  rich  city,  and  their  own  houses  were  in  it;  not  be¬ 
cause  it  was  the  holy  city,  and  God’s  house  was  in 
it.  In  all  our  cares  for  the  defence  of  the  church, 
we  must  look  more  at  God’s  interest  in  it  than  at 
our  own.  [2.  J  They  did  not  depend  upon  him  for 
a  blessing  upon  their  endeavours,  saw  no  need  of  it, 
and  therefore  sought  not  to  him  for  it,  but  thought 
their  own  powers  and  policies  sufficient  for  them. 
Of  Hezekiah  himself  it  is  said,  that  he  trusted  in 
God,  (2  Kings  xviii.  5.)  and  particularly  upon  this 
occasion;  (2  Chron.  xxxii.  8.)  but  there  were  those 
about  him,  it  seems,  who  were  great  statesmen  and 
soldiers,  but  had  little  religion  in  them.  [3.]  They 
did  not  give  him  thanks  for  the  advantages  they 
had  in  fortifying  their  citv  from  the  waters  of  the 
old  pool,  which  were  fashioned  long  ago,  as  Kishon 
is  called  an  ancient  river,  Judg.  v.  21.  Whatever  in 
nature  is  at  any  time  serviceable  to  us,  we  must 
therein  acknowledge  the  goodness  of  the  God  of 
nature;  who,  when  he  fashioned  it  long  ago,  fitted 
it  to  be  so,  and  according  to  whose  ordinance  it  con¬ 
tinues  to  this  day.  Every  creature  is  that  to  us  that 
God  makes  it  to  be;  and  therefore,  whatever  use  it 
is  of  to  us,  we  must  look  at  him  that  fashioned  It, 
bless  him  for  it,  and  use  it  for  him. 


ISAIAH,  XXII. 


II.  A  great  contempt  of  God’s  wrath  and  justice 
m  contending  with  them,  v.  12 — 14.  Where  ob¬ 
serve, 

1.  What  was  God’s  design  in  bringing  this  cala- 
lamity  upon  them;  it  was  to  humble  them,  bring 
them  to  repentance,  and  make  them  serious.  In 
that  day  of  trouble,  and  treading  down,  and  per¬ 
plexity,'  the  Lord  did  thereby  call  to  weeping,  and 
mourning,  and  all  the  expressions  of  sorrow,  even 
to  baldness  and  girding’  with  sackcloth;  and  all  this, 
to  lament  their  sins,  by  which  they  had  brought 
those  judgments  upon  their  land,  to  enforce  their 
prayers,  by  which  they  might  hope  to  avert  the 
judgments’  that  were  breaking  in,  and  to  dispose 
themselves  to  a  reformation  of  their  lives  by  a  holy 
seriousness,  and  a  tenderness  of  heart,  under  the 
word  of  God.  To  this  God  called  them  by  his 
prophets’  explaining  his  providences,  and  by  his 
providences  awakening  them  to  regard  what  his 

rophets  said.  Note,  When  God  threatens  us  with 
is  judgments,  he  expects  and  requires  that  we 
humble  ourselves  under  his  mighty  hand;  that  we 
tremble  when  the  lion  roars,  and  in  a  day  of  adver¬ 
sity  consider. 

2.  H,ow  contrary  they  walked  to  this  design  of 
God;  (t>.  13.)  Behold,  joy  and  gladness,  mirth  and 
feasting,  all  the  gaiety  and  all  the  jollity  imagina¬ 
ble:  they  were  as  secure  and  pleasant  as  they  used 
to  be,  as  if  they  had  no  enemy  in  their  borders,  or 
were  in  no  danger  of  falling  into  his  hands.  When 
they  had  taken  the  necessary  precautions  for  their 
security,  then  they  set  all  deaths  and  dangers  at 
defiance,  and  resolved  to  be  merry,  let  come  on 
them  what  would.  They  that  should  have  been 
eating  among  the  mourners,  were  among  the  wine- 
bibbers,  the  riotous  eaters  of  flesh;  and  observe 
what  they  said,  Let  us  eat  and  drink,  for  to-mor¬ 
row  we  shall  die.  This  may  refer  either  to  the  par¬ 
ticular  danger  they  were  now  in,  and  the  fair  warn¬ 
ing  which  the  prophet  gave  them  of  it,  or  to  the 
general  shortness  and  uncertainty  of  human  life, 
and  the  nfearness  of  death  at  all  times.  This  was 
the  language  of  the  profane  scoffers  who  mocked 
the  messengers  of  the  Lord,  and  misused  his  pro¬ 
phets.  (1. )  They  made  a  jest  of  dying;  “  The  pro¬ 
phet  tells  us  we  must  die  shortly,  perhaps  to-mor- 
row,  and  therefore  we  should  mourn  and  repent 
to-day;  no,  rather  let  ws  eat  and  drink,  that  we 
may  be  fattened  for  the  slaughter,  and  may  be  in 
good  heart  to  meet  our  doom;  if  we  must  have  a 
short  life,  let  it  be  a  merry  one.”  (2.)  They  ridi¬ 
culed  the  doctrine  of  a  future  state  on  the  other 
side  death;  for  if  there  were  no  such  state,  the 
apostle  grants  there  would  be  something  of  reason 
in  what  they  said,  1  Cor.  xv.  32.  If,  when  we  die, 
there  were  an  end  of  us,  it  were  good  to  make  our¬ 
selves  as  easy  and  merry  as  we  could,  while  we  live; 
but  if  for  all  these  things  God  shall  bring  us  into 
judgment ,  it  is  at  our  peril  if  we  walk  in  the  way 
of  our  heart  and  the  sight  of  our  eyes,  Eccl.  xi.  9. 
Note,  A  practical  disbelief  of  another  life  after  this, 
is  at  the  bottom  of  the  carnal  security  and  brutish 
sensuality,  which  are  the  sin  and  shame  and  ruin  of 
so  great  a  part  of  mankind,  as  of  the  old  world, 
who  were  eating  and  drinking  till  the  food  came. 

3.  How  much  God  was  displeased  at  it;  he  sig¬ 
nified  his  resentment  of  it  to  the  prophet,  revealed 
it  in  his  ears,  to  be  by  him  proclaimed  upon  the 
house-top;  Surely  this  iniquity  shall  not  be  purged 
from  you  till  ye  die,  v.  14.  It  shall  never  be  ex¬ 
piated  with  sacrifice  and  offering,  any  more  than 
the  iniquity  of  the  house  of  Eli,  1  Sam.  iii.  14.  It 
is  a  sin  against  the  remedy,  a  baffling  of  the  utmost 
means  of  conviction,  and  rendering  them  ineffec¬ 
tual;  and  therefore  it  is  not  likely  they  should  ever 
repent  of  it,  or  nave  it  pardoned.  The  Chaldee  reads 
rt,  It  shall  not  be  forgiven  you  till  you  die  the  second  \ 


103 

death.  Those  that  walk  contrary  to  God,  he  will 
walk  contrary  to  them;  with  the  froward  he  will 
show  himself  froward. 

15.  Thus  saith  the  Lord  God  of  hosts, 
Go,  get  thee  unto  this  treasurer,  even  unto 
Shebna,  which  is  over  the  house,  and  say, 
1G.  What  hast  thou  here,  and  whom  hast 
thou  here,  that  thou  hast  hewed  ihee  out 
a  sepulchre  here,  as  he  that  heweth  him 
out  a  sepulchre  on  high,  and  that  grav- 
eth  a  habitation  for  himself  in  a  rock?  17 
Behold,  the  Lord  will  carry  thee  away 
with  a  mighty  captivity,  and  will  surely 
cover  thee.  18.  He  will  surely  violently 
turn  and  toss  thee  like  a  ball  into  a  large, 
country:  there  shalt  thou  die,  and  there 
the  chariots  of  thy  glory  shall  be  the  shame 
of  thy  lord’s  house.  1 9.  And  I  will  drive 
thee  from  thy  station,  and  from  thy  state 
shall  he  pull  thee  down.  20.  And  it  shall 
come  to  pass  in  that  day,  that  I  will  call 
my  servant  Eliakim,  the  son  of  Hilkiah: 

21.  And  I  will  clothe  him  with  thy  robe, 
and  strengthen  him  with  thy  girdle,  and  1 
will  commit  thy  government  into  his  hand ; 
and  he  shall  be  a  father  to  the  inhabitants 
of  Jerusalem,  and  to  the  house  of  Judah. 

22.  And  the  key  of  the  house  of  David  will 
1  lay  upon  his  shoulder:  so  he  shall  open, 
and  none  shall  shut;  and  he  shall  shut,  and 
none  shall  open.  23.  And  I  will  fasten  him 
as  a  r  ail  in  a  sure  place ;  and  he  shall  be 
for  a  glorious  throne  to  his  father’s  house. 
24.  And  they  shall  hang  upon  him  all  the 
glory  of  his  father’s  house,  the  offspring  and 
the  issue,  all  vessels  of  small  quantity,  from 
the  vessels  of  cups,  even  to  all  the  vessels 
of  flagons.  25.  In  that  day,  saith  the  Lord 
of  hosts,  shall  the  nail  that  is  fastened  in  the 
sure  place  be  removed,  and  be  cut  down, 
and  fall;  and  the  burden  that  was  upon  it 
shall  be  cut  off:  for  the  Lord  hath  spoken  it. 

We  have  here  a  prophecy  concerting  the  displa¬ 
cing  of  Shebna,  a  great  officer  at  court,  and  the  pre¬ 
ferring  of  Eliakim  to  the  post  of  honour  and  trust 
that  he  was  in.  Such  changes  are  common  in  the 
courts  of  princes,  it  is  therefore  strange  that  so  much 
notice  should  be  taken  of  it  by  the  prophet  here:  but 
by  the  accomplishment  of  what  was  foretold  concern¬ 
ing  these  particular  persons,  God  designed  to  con¬ 
firm  his  word  in  the  mouth  of  Isaiah  concerning 
other  and  greater  events;  and  it  is  likewise  to  show, 
that,  as  God  has  burthens  in  store  for  those  nations 
and  kingdoms  abroad  that  are  open  enemies  to  his 
church  and  people;  so  he  has  for  those  particular 
persons  at  home,  that  are  false  friends  to  them,  and 
betray  them.  It  is  likewise  a  confirmation  in  gene¬ 
ral  of  the  hand  of  Divine  Providence  in  all  events 
of  this  kind,  which  to  us  seem  contingent,  and  to  de¬ 
pend  upon  the  wills  and  fancies  of  princes:  promo¬ 
tion  comes  neither  from  the  east,  nor  from  the  west, 
nor  from  the  south;  but  God  is  the  Judge,  Ps.  lxxv. 
6,  7.  It  is  probable  that  this  prophecy  was  deli¬ 
vered  at  the  same  time  with  that  in  the  former  part 
of  the  chapter,  and  began  to  be  fulfilled  before 


ISAIAH,  XXII. 


104 

S-nnacherib’s  invasion;  for  now  Shebna  was  over  the 
hou.tr,  but  then  Eliakim  was,((7i.  xxxvi.3. )  and  Sheb- 
n  *.  coming  down  gradually,  was  only  scribe.  Here  is, 

I.  The  prophecy  of  Shebnu’s  disgrace;  lie  is  call¬ 
ed  this  treasurer,  being  intrusted  with  the  manage¬ 
ment  of  the  revenue;  and  he  is  likewise  said  to  be 
over  the  house;  for  such  was  his  boundless  ambition 
and  covetousness,  that  less  than  two  places,  and 
those  two  of  the  greatest  importance  at  court,  would 
not  content  him.  It  is  common  for  self-seeking  men 
thus  to  grasp  at  more  than  they  can  manage;  and 
so  the  business  of  their  places  is  neglected,  while 
the  pomp  and  profit  of  them  wholly  engage  the 
mind.  It  does  not  appear  what  were  the  particu¬ 
lar  instances  of  Shebna’s  mal-administration,  for 
which  Isaiah  is  here  sent  to  prophesy  against  him; 
but  the  Jews  say,  “  He  kept  up  a  traitorous  corres¬ 
pondence  with  the  king  of  Assyria,  and  was  in  treaty 
with  him  to  deliver  the  city  into  his  hands.”  How¬ 
ever  it  was,  it  should  seem  that  he  was  a  foreigner, 
(for  we  never  read  of  the  name  of  his  father,)  and 
that  he  was  an  enemy  to  the  true  interests  of  Judah 
and  Jerusalem;  it  is  probable  that  he  was  first  pre¬ 
ferred  by  Ahaz.  Hezekiah  was  himself  an  excel¬ 
lent  prince;  but  the  best  masters  cannot  always  be 
sure  of  good  servants:  we  have  need  to  pray  for 
princes,  that  they  may  be  wise  and  happy  in  the 
choice  of  those  they  trust.  These  were  times  of 
reformation,  yet  Shebna,  a  bad  man,  complied  so 
far  as  to  keep  his  places  at  court;  and  it  is  probable 
that  many  others  did  like  him,  for  which  reason 
S  nnacherib  is  said  to  have  been  sent  against  a  hy¬ 
pocritical  nation,  ch.  x.  6.  In  this  message  to  Sheb- 
n  i,  we  have, 

1.  A  reproof  of  his  pride,  vanity,  and  security; 
(v.  lfi.)  “  What  hast  thou  here,  and  whom  hast  thou 
h°re?  What  a  mighty  noise  and  bustle  dost  thou 
oi  ike!  What  estate  hast  thou  here,  that  thou  wast 
barn  to?  117 iom  hast  thou  here,  what  relations  that 
thou  art  allied  to?  Art  thou  not  of  mean  and  ob¬ 
scure  original,  filius  /io/iuli — an  utter  plebeian,  that 
comest  we  know  not  whence?  What  is  the  meaning 
of  this  then,  th  it  thou  hast  built  thee  a  fine  house, 
hast  graved  thee  a  habitation?”  So  very  nice  and 
curious  was  it,  that  it  seemed  rather  to  be  the  work 
of  an  engraver  than  of  a  mason  or  carpenter.  And  it 
seemed  engraven  in  a  rock;  so  firmly  was  it  founded, 
and  so  impregnable  was  it.  “  Nay,  thou  hast  hewed 
thee  out  a  sepulchre;”  as  if  he  designed  that  his  pomp 
should  survive  his  funeral.  Though  Jerusalem  was 
not  the  place  of  his  fathers'  sepulchres,  (as  Nelie- 
miah  called  it  with  a  great  deal  of  tenderness,  Neh. 
ii.  3.)  he  designed  it  should  be  the  place  of  his  own; 
and  therefore  set  up  a  monument  for  himself  in  his 
life-time,  set  it  up  on  high.  They  that  make  stately 
monuments  for  their  pride,  forget  that,  how  beauti¬ 
ful  soever  they  appear  outwardly,  within  they  are 
full  of  dead  men’s  bones:  but  it  is  pity  that  the 
grave-stone  should  forget  the  grave. 

2.  A  prophecy  of  his  fall,  and  the  sullying  of  his 
glory. 

(1.)  That  he  should  now  quickly  be  displaced  and 
degraded;  (v.  19.)  I  will  drive  thee  from  thy  sta¬ 
tion.  High  places  are  slippery  places;  and  those 
are  justly  deprived  of  their  honour,  that  are  proud 
of  it,  and  puffed  up  with  it;  and  deprived  of  their 
power,  that  do  hurt  with  it.  God  will  do  it  who 
shows  himself  to  be  God,  by  looking  upon  proud 
men,  ami  abasing  them ,  Job  xl.  12.  To  this,  v.  25. 
refers.  The  nail  that  is  now  fastened  in  the  sure 
place,  Shebn  i,  who  thinks  himself  immoveably  fixed 
in  Ins  office,  shall  be  removed,  and  cut  down,  and 
fall.  Those  are  mistaken,  who  think  any  place  in 
this  world  a  sure  place,  or  themselves  as  nails  fas- 
t-oed  in  it;  for  tV-re  is  nothing  here  but  uncertaintv. 
When  the  nail  falls,  the  burthen  that  was  upon  it  is 
cut  off:  when  Shebna  was  disgraced,  all  that  had  a 


I  dependence  upon  him  fell  into  contempt  too.  Those 
!  that  are  in  high  places  will  have  many  hanging  upon 
them,  as  favourites  whom  they  are  proud  of  ana 
trust  to;  but  they  are  burthens  upon  tlu  m,  and  per¬ 
haps  with  their  weight  break  the  nail,  and  both  fall 
together,  and  by  deceiving  ruin  one  another — the 
common  fate  of  great  men  and  their  flatterers,  who 
expect  more  from  each  other  than  either  performs. 

(2.)  That  after  awhile  he  should  not  only  be  dri¬ 
ven  from  his  station,  but  driven  his  country;  The 
Lord  will  carry  thee  away  with  the  captivity  of  a 
mighty  man,  v.  17,  18.  Some  think  the  Assyrians 
seized  him,  and  took  him  away,  because  he  had 
promised  to  assist  them,  and  did  not,  but  appeared 
against  them;  or,  perhaps,  Hezekiah,  finding  out 
his  treachery,  banished  him,  and  forbade  him  ever 
to  return;  or,  he  himself,  finding  that  he  was  be¬ 
come  obnoxious  to  the  people,  withdrew  into  some 
other  country,  and  there  spent  the  rest  of  his  days 
in  meanness  and  obscurity.  Grotius  thinks  he  was 
stricken  with  a  leprosy,  which  was  a  disease  ccm- 
monly  supposed  to  come  from  the  immediate  hand 
of  God’s  displeasure,  particularly  for  the  punish¬ 
ment  of  the  proud,  as  in  the  case  of  Miriam  and 
Uzziah;  and  by  reason  of  this  disease,  he  was 
tossed  like  a  ball  out  of  Jerusalem.  Those  who, 
when  they  are  in  power,  turn  and  toss  others,  will 
be  justly  turned  and  tossed  themselves,  when  their 
day  shall  come  to  fall.  Many  who  have  thought 
themselves  fastened  like  a  nail,  may  come  to  be 
tossed  like  a  ball;  for  here  have  we  no  continuing 
city.  Shebna  thought  his  place  too  strait  for  him, 
he  had  no  room  to  thrive;  God  will  therefore  send 
him  into  a  large  country,  where  he  shall  have  room 
to  wander,  but  never  find  the  way  back  again;  for 
there  he  shall  die,  and  lay  his  bones  there,  and  not 
in  the  sepulchre  he  had  hewn  out  for  himself.  And 
there  the  chariots  which  had  been  the  chariots  of 
his  glory,  in  which  he  had  rattled  about  the  streets 
of  Jerusalem,  and  which  he  took  into  banishment 
with  him,  should  but  serve  to  upbraid  him  with  his 
former  grandeur,  to  the  shame  of  his  lord’s  house, 
of  the  court  of  Ahaz,  that  had  advanced  him. 

II.  The  prophecy  of  Eliakim’s  advancement,  t>. 
20,  &c.  He  is  God’s  servant,  has  approved  him¬ 
self  faithfully  so  in  other  emplovments,  and  there¬ 
fore  God  will  call  him  to  this  high  station.  Those 
that  are  diligent  in  doing  the  duty  of  a  low  sphere, 
stand  fairest  for  preferment  in  God’s  books.  Elia¬ 
kim  does  not  undermine  Shebna,  or  make  an  inter¬ 
est  against  him,  nor  does  he  intrude  into  his  office: 
but  God  calls  him  to  it;  and  what  God  calls  us  to, 
we  may  expect  he  will  own  us  in. 

It  is  here  foretold, 

1.  That  Eliakim  should  be  put  into  Shebna’s 
place  of  lord  chamberlain  of  the  household,  lord 
treasurer,  and  prime  minister  of  state.  The  pro¬ 
phet  must  tell  Shebna  this;  (y.  21.)  “  He  shall  have 
thy  robe,  the  badge  of  honour:  and  thy  girdle,  the 
badge  of  power;  for  he  shall  have  thy  government.” 
To  hear  of  it  would  be  a  great  mortification  to  Sheb¬ 
na,  much  more  to  see  it.  Great  men,  especiallv  if 
proud  men,  cannot  endure  their  successors.  God 
undertakes  the  doing  of  it,  not  only  because  he 
would  put  it  into  the  heart  of  Hezekiah  to  do  it,  and 
his  hand  must  be  acknowledged,  guiding  the  hearts 
of  princes  in  placing  and  displacing  men,  (Prov. 
xxi.  1.)  but  because  the  powers  that  are  subordi¬ 
nate  as  well  as  supreme,  are  ordained  of  God.  It  is 
God  that  clothes  princes  with  their  robes,  and  there¬ 
fore  we  must  submit  ourselves  to  them  for  the 
Lord’s  sake,  and  with  an  eye  to  him,  1  Pet.  ii.  13. 
And  since  it  is  he  that  commits  the  government  into 
their  hand,  they  must  administer  it  according  to  his 
will,  for  his  glory;  they  must  judge  for  him,  by 
whom  they  judge,  and  decree  justice,  Prov.  viii.  15. 
And  they  may  depend  upon  him  to  furnish  them  for 


105 


ISAIAH,  XXIII. 


■what  he  calls  them  to:  according  to  the  promise 
here,  I  will  clothe  him;  and  then  it  follows,  I  will 
strengthen  him.  Those  that  are  called  to  places  of 
trust  and  power,  should  seek  unto  God  for  grace  to 
um  tble  them  to  do  the  duty  of  their  places,  for  that 
ought  to  be  their  chief  care. 

Eliakim’s  advancement  is  further  described  by 
the  laving  of  the  key  of  the  house  of  David  ufion 
his  shoulders,  v.  22.  Probably,  he  carried  a  golden 
key  upon  his  shoulder  as  a  badge  of  his  office,  or 
had  one  embroidered  upon  his  cloak  or  robe,  to 
which  this  alludes.  Being  over  the  house,  and  hav¬ 
ing  the  key  delivered  to  him,  as  the  seals  are  to  the 
lord  keeper,  he  shall  often  and  none  shall  shut,  shut 
and  none  shall  often.  He  had  access  to  the  house 
of  the  precious  things,  the  silver  and  the  gold,  and 
the  s/tices;  to  the  house  of  the  armour  and  the  trea¬ 
sures,  ( ch .  xxxix.  2.)  and  disposed  of  the  stores  there 
as  he  thought  fit  for  the  public  service.  He  put 
whom  he  pleased  into  the  inferior  offices,  and  turned 
out  whom  he  pleased.  Our  Lord  Jesus  describes 
his  own  power  as  Mediator  by  an  allusion  to  this, 
(Rev.  iii.  7.)  that  he  has  the  key  of  David,  where¬ 
with  he  oftetts  and  no  man  shuts,  he  shuts  and  no 
man  oftens:  his  power  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven, 
and  in  the  ordering  of  all  the  affairs  of  that  king¬ 
dom,  is  absolute,  irresistible,  and  uncontrollable. 

2.  That  he  should  be  fixed  and  confirmed  in  that 
office:  he  shall  have  it  for  life,  and  not  durante  bene- 
filacito— during  pleasure;  (v.  23.)  I  will  fasten 
him  as  a  nail  iii  a  sure  place,  not  to  be  removed  or 
cut  down.  Thus  lasting  shall  the  honour  be,  that 
comes  from  God,  to  all  those  who  use  it  for  him. 
Our  Lord  Jesus  is  as  a  nail  in  a  sure  place:  Iris 
kingdom  cannot  be  shaken,  and  he  himself  is  still 
the  same. 

S.  That  he  should  be  a  great  blessing  in  his  office : 
and  that  is  it  that  crowns  the  favours  here  conferred 
upon  him.  God  makes  his  name  great,  for  he  shall 
be  a  blessing,  Gen.  xii.  2. 

(1.)  He  shall  be  a  blessing  to  hiscountry;  (v.  21.) 
He  shall  be  a  father  to  the  inhabitants  of  Jerusalem 
and  to  the  house  of  Judah.  He  shall  take  care  not 
onlv  of  the  affairs  of  the  king’s  household,  but  of 
all  the  public  interests  in  Jerusalem  and  Judah. 
Note,  Rulers  should  be  fathers  to  those  that  are 
under  their  government;  to  teach  them  with  wis¬ 
dom,  rule  them  with  love,  and  correct  what  is  amiss 
with  tenderness;  to  protect  them  and  provide  for 
them,  and  be  solicitous  about  them,  as  a  man  is  for 
his  own  children  and  family.  It  is  happy  with  a 
people,  when  neither  court,  nor  city,  nor  country, 
has  anv  separate  interests,  but  all  centre  in  the 
same,  so  that  the  courtiers  are  true  patriots,  and 
whom  the  court  blesses,  the  countiy  has  reason  to 
bless  too;  and  when  those  who  are  fathers  to  Jeru¬ 
salem,  the  royal  city,  are  no  less  so  to  the  house  of 
Judah. 

(2.)  He  shall  be  a  blessing  to  his  family;  (v.  23, 
24.)  He  shall  be  for  a  glorious  throne  to  his  father’s 
house:  the  consummate  wisdom  and  virtue  which 
recommended  him  to  this  great  trust  made  him  the 
honour  of  his  family,  which,  probably,  was  very 
considerable  before,"  but  now  became  much  more 
so.  Children  should  aim  to  be  a  credit  to  their  pa¬ 
rents  and  relations.  The  honour  men  reflect  upon 
their  families  by  their  piety  and  usefulness,  is  more 
t'l  be  valued  than  that  which  they  derive  from  their 
families  by  their  names  and  titles. 

Eliakim  being  preferred,  all  the  glory  of  his  fa¬ 
ther’s  house  was  hung  upon  him;  they  all  made  their 
court  to  him,  and  his  brethren’s  sheaves  bowed  to 
his.  Observe,  the  glory  of  this  world  gives  a  man 
no  intrinsic  worth  or  excellency;  it  is  but  hung  upon 
him  as  an  appurtenance,  and  it  will  soon  drop  from 
him.  Eliakim  was  compared  to  a  nail  in  a  sure 
place;  in  pursuance  cf  which  comparison,  all  the 
Vol.  IV. — O 


|  relations  of  his  family,  which,  it  is  likely,  were  nu¬ 
merous,  and  that  was  the  glory  cf  it,  are  said  to 
have  a  dependence  upon  him;  as  in  a  house  the  \cs- 
I  sels  that  have  handles  to  them,  are  hung  up  upon 
nails  and  pins.  It  intimates  likewise,  that  he  shall 
generously  take  care  of  them  all,  and  bear  the 
weight  of  that  carryall  the  vessels,  not  only  the  fla¬ 
gons,  but  the  cups,  the  vessels  of  small  quantity, 

|  the  meanest  that  belonged  to  his  family,  shall  be 
provided  for  by  him.  See  what  a  burthen  they  bring 
upon  themselves,  that  undertake  great  trusts;  they 
little  think  how  many  and  how  much  will  hang  upon 
them,  if  they  resolve  to  be  faithful  in  the  discharge 
of  their  trust.  Our  Lord  Jesus  having  the  key  of 
the  house  of  David,  is  as  a  nail  in  a  sure  place,  and 
all  the  glory  of  his  father’s  house  hangs  upon  him, 

I  is  derived  from  him,  and  depends  upon  him;  even 
j  the  meanest  that  belong  to  his  church,  are  welcome 
to  him,  and  he  is  able  to  bear  the  stress  of  them  all. 
That  soul  cannot  perish,  nor  that  concern  fall  to  the 
ground,  though  ever  so  weighty,  that  is  by  faith 
hung  upon  Christ. 

CHAP.  XXIII. 

This  chapter  is  concerning  Tyre,  an  ancient  wealthy  city, 
situated  upon  the  sea,  and  for  many  ages  one  of  the  most 
celebrated  cities  for  trade  and  merchandise  in  those  parts 
of  the  world.  The  lot  of  the  tribe  of  Asher  bordered 
upon  it;  ( Joshua  xix.  29.)  it  is  called  the  strong  city  Tyre. 
We  seldom  find  it  a  dangerous  enemy  to  Israel,  but  some¬ 
times  their  faithful  ally,  as  in  the  reigns  of  David  and 
Solomon;  for  trading  cities  maintain  their  grandeur,  not 
by  conquests  of  their  neighbours,  but  by  commerce  with 
them.  In  this  chapter  is  foretold,  I.  The  lamentable 
desolation  of  Tyre,  which  was  performed  by  Nebuchad¬ 
nezzar  and  the  Chaldean  army,  about  the  time  that  they 
destroyed  Jerusalem;  and  a  hard  task  they  had  of  it,  as 
appears,  Ezek.  xxix.  18.  where  they  are  said  to  have 
served,  a  hard  service  against  Tyre ,  and  yet  to  have  no 
wages,  v.  1  - .  14.  II.  The  restoration  of  Tyre  after  70 
-  years,  and  the  return  of  the  Tyrians  out  of  their  captivity 
to  their  trade  again,  v.  15.  .18. 

1 .  rTXIE  burden  of  Tyre.  Howl,  ye  ships 

JL  of  Tarshish;  for  it  is  laid  waste,  so 
that  there  is  no  house,  no  entering  in :  from 
the  land  of  Chittim  it  is  revealed  to  them. 

2.  Be  still,  ye  inhabitants  of  the  isles ;  thou 
whom  the  merchants  of  Zidon,  that  pass 
over  the  sea,  have  replenished.  3.  And  by 
great  waters  the  seed  of  Sihor,  the  harvest 
of  the  river,  is  her  revenue;  and  she  is  a 
mart  of  nations.  4.  Be  thou  ashamed,  O 
Zidon;  for  the  sea  hath  spoken,  even  the 
strength  of  the  sea,  saving,  1  travail  not,  nor 
bring  forth  children,  neither  do  I  nourish  up 
young  men,  nor  bring  up  virgins.  5.  As 
at  the  report  concerning  Egypt,  so  shall  they 
be  sorely  pained  at  the  report  of  Tyre.  6. 
Pass  ye  over  to  Tarshish ;  howl,  ye  inha¬ 
bitants  of  the  isle.  7.  Is  this  your  joyous 

!  city ,  whose  antiquity  is  of  ancient  days?  her 
1  own  feet  shall  carry  her  afar  off  to  sojourn. 
8.  Who  hath  taken  this  counsel  against 
Tyre,  the  crowning  city ,  whose  merchants 
are  princes,  whose  traffickers  ore  the  hon¬ 
ourable  of  the  earth?  9.  The  LoRn  of 
hosts  hath  purposed  it,  to  stain  the  pride  of 
all  glory,  and  to  bring  into  contempt  all  the 
honourable  of  the  earth.  10.  Pass  through 
thy  land  as  a  river,  O  daughter  of  Tarshish 


106 


ISAIAH,  XXIII. 


there  is  no  more  strength.  11.  He  stretched 
out  his  hand  over  the  sea;  he  shook  the 
kingdoms:  the  Lord  hath  given  a  com¬ 
mandment  against  the  merchant-city,  to  de¬ 
stroy  the  strong  holds  thereof.  1 2.  And  he 
said,  Thou  shalt  no  more  rejoice,  O  thou 
oppressed  virgin,  daughter  of  Zidon  ;  arise, 
pass  over  to  Chittim ;  there  also  shalt  thou 
iiave  no  rest.  1 3.  Behold,  the  land  of  the 
Chaldeans:  this  people  was  not  till  the  As¬ 
syrian  founded  it  for  them  that  dwell  in  the 
wilderness :  they  set  up  the  towers  thereof, 
they  raised  up  the  palaces  thereof;  and  he 
brought  it  to  ruin.  14.  Howl,  ye  ships  of 
Tarshish:  for  your  strength  is  laid  waste. 

Tyre  being  a  sea-port  town,  this  prophecy  of  its 
overthrow  fitly  begins  and  ends  with,  Howl,  ye  ships 
of  Tarshish;  for  all  its  business,  wealth,  and  honour 
depended  upon  its  shipping;  if  that  be  ruined  they 
are  all  undone.  Observe, 

I.  Tyre  flourishing.  This  is  taken  notice  of,  that 
her  fall  may  appear  the  more  dismal;  1.  The  mer¬ 
chants  of  Zidon,  who  traded  at  sea,  had  at  first  re¬ 
plenished  her,  v.  2.  Zidon  was  the  more  ancient 
city,  situate  upon  the  same  sea-coast,  a  few  leagues 
more  to  the  north,  and  Tyre  was  at  first  only  a  co¬ 
lony  of  that;  but  the  daughter  had  outgrown  the 
mother,  and  was  become  much  more  considerable. 
It  may  be  a  mortification  to  great  cities  to  think 
how  they  were  at  first  replenished.  2.  Egypt  had 
helped  very  much  to  raise  her,  v.  3.  Sihor  was  the 
river  of  Egypt,  by  that  river,  and  the  ocean  into 
which  it  ran,  the  Egyptians  traded  with  Tyre:  and 
the  harvest  of  that  river  was  her  revenue.  The 
riches  of  the  sea,  and  the  gains  by  goods  exported 
and  imported,  are  as  much  the  harvest  to  trading 
towns,  as  that  of  hay  and  corn  is  to  the  country ;  and 
sometimes  the  harvest  of  the  river  proves  a  better 
revenue  than  the  harvest  of  the  land.  Or,  it  may 
be  meant  of  all  the  products  of  the  Egyptian  soil, 
which  the  men  of  Tyre  traded  in,  and  which  were 
the  harvest  of  the  river  Nile,  owing  themselves  to 
the  overflowing  of  that  river.  3.  She  was  become 
the  mart  of  the  nations;  the  great  emporium  of  that 
part  of  the  world.  Some  of  every  known  nation 
might  be  found  there,  especially  at  certain  times  of 
the  year,  when  there  was  a  general  rendezvous  of 
merchants.  This  is  enlarged  upon  by  another  pro¬ 
phet,  Ezek.  xxvii.  2,  3,  &c.  See  how  the  hand  of 
the  diligent,  by  the  blessing  of  God  upon  it,  makes 
rich.  Tyre  became  rich  and  great  by  industry, 
though  she  had  no  other  ploughs  going'  than  those 
that  plough  the  waters.  4.  She  was  a  joyous  city, 
noted  for  mirth  and  jollity,  v.  7.  Those  that  were 
so  disposed,  might  find  there  all  manner  of  sports 
and  diversions,  all  the  delights  of  the  sons  and  daugh¬ 
ters  of  men;  balls,  and  plays,  and  operas,  and  every 
thing  of  that  kind,  that  a  man  had  a  fancy  to.  This 
made  them  secure  and  proud,  and  they  despised  the 
country  people,  who  neither  knew  nor  relished  any 
joys  of  that  nature:  and  this  made  them  very  loath 
to  believe  and  consider  what  warnings  God  gave 
them  by  his  servants;  they  were  too  merry  to  mind 
them.  Her  antiquity  likewise  was  of  ancient  days, 
and  she  was  proud  of  that,  and  that  helped  to  make 
her  secure;  as  if  because  she  had  been  a  city  time 
out  of  mind,  and  her  antiquity  had  been  of  ancient 
days,  therefore  she  must  continue  a  city  time  with¬ 
out  end,  and  her  continuance  must  be  to  the  days 
of  eternity.  5.  She  was  a  crowning  city,  (y.  8.) 
that  crowned  herself.  Such  were  the  power  and 
oomp  of  her  magistrates,  that  they  crowned  those 


who  had  dependence  on  her,  and  dealings  with  hi  r 
It  is  explained  in  the  following  words;  Her  mer 
chants  are  princes,  and  live  like  princes,  for  tin- 
ease  and  state  they  take;  and  her  traffickers,  what¬ 
ever  country  they  go  to,  are  the  honourable  of  the 
earth,  who  are  respected  by  all.  How  slightly  so¬ 
ever  some  now  speak  of  tradesmen,  it  seems,  for¬ 
merly,  and  among  the  wisest  nations,  there  were 
merchants,  and  traders,  and  men  of  business,  that 
were  the  honourable  of  the  earth. 

II.  Here  is  Tyre  falling.  It  does  not  appear  that 
she  brought  trouble  upon  herself  by  provoking  her 
neighbours  with  her  quarrels,  but  rather  by  tempt¬ 
ing  them  with  her  wealth:  but  if  that  was  it  that 
induced  Nebuchadnezzar  to  fall  upon  Tyre,  he  was 
disappointed;  for  after  it  had  stood  out  a  siege  of 
13  years,  and  could  hold  out  no  longer,  the  inhabit¬ 
ants  got  away  by  sea,  with  their  families  and  goods, 
to  other  places  where  they  had  an  interest,  and  left 
Nebuchadnezzar  nothing  but  the  bare  city.  See  a 
history  of  Tyre  in  Sir  Walter  Raleigh’s  History  t  f 
the  World,  lib.  ii.  cap.  7,  sect.  3,  43.  page  283. 
which  will  give  much  light  to  the  prophecy,  and 
that  in  Ezekiel  concerning  Tyre. 

See  how  the  destruction  of  Tyre  is  here  foretold: 

1.  The  haven  should  be  spoiled,  or,  at  least,  ne¬ 
glected:  there  shall  be  no  convenient  harbour  for  the 
reception  of  the  ships  of  Tarshish,  but  all  laid  nvaste, 
( v .  1. )  so  that  there  shall  be  no  house,  no  dock  fi  r 
the  ships  to  ride  in,  no  inns  or  public  houses  for  the 
seamen,  no  entering  into  the  port;  perhaps  it  w:.s 
choked  with  sand,  or  blocked  up  by  the  enemy;  or. 
Tyre  being  destroyed  and  laid  waste,  the  ships  that 
used  to  come  from  Tarshish  and  Chittim  into  that 
port,  shall  now  no  more  enter  in;  for  it  is  revealed 
and  made  known  to  them,  they  have  received  the 
dismal  news,  that  Tyre  is  destroyed  and  laid  waste: 
so  that  there  is  now  no  more  business  for  them  there. 
See  how  it  is  in  this  world;  those  that  are  spoiled 
by  their  enemies  are  commonly  slighted  by  their 
old  friends. 

2.  The  inhabitants  are  struck  with  astonishment. 
Tyre  was  an  island;  the  inhabitants  of  it,  who  had 
made  a  mighty  noise  and  bustle  in  the  world,  had 
revelled  with  loud  huzzas,  shall  now  be  still  and 
silent;  (v.  2.)  they  shall  sit  down  as  mourners,  so 
overwhelmed  with  grief,  that  they  shall  not  be  able 
to  express  it.  Their  proud  boasts  of  themselves, 
and  defiances  of  their  neighbours,  shall  be  silenced. 
God  caii  soon  quiet  those,  and  strike  them  dumb, 
that  are  the  noisy,  busy  people  of  the  world.  Be 
still;  for  God  will  do  his  work,  (Ps.  xlvi.  10.  Zech. 
ii.  13. )  and  you  cannot  resist  him. 

3.  The  neighbours  are  amazed,  blush,  and  are  in 
pain  for  them;  Zidon  is  ashamed,  (v.  4.)  by  whom 
Tyre  was  at  first  replenished,  for  the  rolling  waves 
of  the  sea  brought  to  Zidon  this  news  from  T  yre ;  and 
there  the  strength  of  the  sea,  a  high  spring-tide,  pro¬ 
claimed,  saying,  “I  travail  not,  nor  bring  forth 
children,  now  as  I  have  done.  I  do  not  now  bring 
ship  loads  of  young  people  to  Tyre,  to  be  bred  up 
there  in  trade  and  business,  as  I  used  to  do;”  which 
was  the  thing  that  had  made  Tyre  so  rich  and  popu¬ 
lous.  Or,  the  sea,  that  used  to  be  loaded  with  fleets 
of  ships  about  Tyre,  shall  now  be  as  desolate  as  a 
sorrowful  widow  that  is  bereaved  of  all  her  chil¬ 
dren,  and  has  none  about  her  to  nourish  and  bring 
up.  Egypt  indeed  was  a  much  larger  and  more 
considerable  kingdom  than  Tyre  was;  and  yet  Tyre 
had  so  large  a  correspondence,  upon  the  account  of 
trade,  that  all  the  nations  about  shall  be  as  much  in 
pain,  upon  the  report  of  the  ruin  of  that  one  city,  as 
they  would  have  been,  and,  not  long  after,  were, 
upon  the  report  of  the  ruin  of  all  Egypt,  v.  5.  Or. 
as  some  read  it,  When  the  report  shall  reach  to  the 
Egyptians ,  they  shall  be  sorely  panned  to  hear  it  oj 
Tyre;  both  because  of  the  loss  of  their  trade  with 


107 


ISAIAH, 

that  city,  and  because  it  was  a  threatening  step  to¬ 
ward  their  own  ruin;  when  their  neighbour’s  house 
was  on  fire,  their  own  was  in  danger. 

4.  The  merchants,  as  many  as  could,  should  trans¬ 
mit  their  effects  to  other  places,  and  abandon  Tyre, 
where  they  had  raised  their  estates,  and  thought 
they  had  made  them  sure;  ( v .  6.)  “  Ye  that  have 
long  been  inhabitants  of  this  isle,”  (for  it  lay  off 
in  the  sea  about  half  a  mile  from  the  continent,) 

“  it  is  time  to  howl  now,  for  ye  must  pass  over  to 
Tarshish.  The  best  course  Vou  can  take,  is  to 
make  the  best  of  your  way  to  Tarshish,  to  the  sea,” 
(to  Tarsessus,  a  city  in  Spain;  so  some,)  “  or  to 
some  other  of  your  plantations.”  Those  that  think 
their  mountain  stands  strong,  and  cannot  be  moved, 
will  find  that  here  they  have  no  continuing  city. 
The  mountains  shall  defiart,  and  the  hills  be  re¬ 
moved. 

5.  Those  that  could  not  make  their  escape,  must 
expect  no  other  than  to  be  carried  into  captivity; 
for  it  was  the  way  of  conquerors,  in  those  times,  to 
take  those  they  conquered  to  be  bondmen  in  their 
own  country,  and  send  of  their  own  to  be  freemen 
in  theirs;  (x>.  7.)  Her  own  feet  shall  carry  her  afar 
off  to  sojourn;  she  shall  be  hurried  away  on  foot 
into  c  iptivity,  and  many  a  weary  step  they  shall 
take  toward  their  own  misery.  Those  that  have 
lived  in  the  greyest  pomp  and  splendour,  know  not 
what  hardships  they  may  be  reduced  to  before  they 
die. 

6.  Many  of  those  that  attempted  to  escape  should 
be  pursued,  and  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy. 
Tyre  shall  pass  through  her  land  as  a  river,  ( v . 
10.)  running  down,  one  company  after  another,  into 
the  ocean  or  abyss  of  misery.  Or,  though  they 
hasten  away  as  a  river,  with  the  greatest  swiftness, 
hoping  to  outrun  the  danger,  yet  there  is  no  more 
strength,  they  are  quickly  tired,  and  cannot  get  for¬ 
ward,  but  fall  an  easy  prey  into  the  hands  of  the 
enemy.  And  as  Tyre  has  no  more  strength,  so  her 
sister  Zidon  has  no  more  comfort;  (v.  12.)  “  Thou 
shalt  no  more  rejoice,  0  oppressed  virgin,  daughter 
of  Zidon,  that  art  now  ready  to  be  overpowered  by 
the  victorious  Chaldeans;  thy  turn  is  next,  there¬ 
fore  arise,  pass  over  to  Chittim;  flee  to  Greece,  to 
Italy,  any  whither,  to  shift  for  thy  own  safety ;  yet 
there  also  shalt  thou  have  no  rest;  thine  enemies 
shall  disturb  thee,  and  thine  own  fears  shall  disquiet 
thee,  there  where  thou  hopedst  to  find  some  repose.  ” 
Note,  We  deceive  ourselves,  if  we  promise  our¬ 
selves  rest  any  where  in  this  world.  Those  that  are 
uneasy  in  one  place,  will  be  so  in  another;  and  when 
God’s  judgments  pursue  sinners,  they  will  overtake 
them. 

But  whence  shall  all  this  trouble  come? 

(1.)  God  will  be  the  Author  of  it;  it  is  a  destruc¬ 
tion  from  the  Almighty.  It  will  be  asked,  {y.  8.) 
“  Who  has  taken  this  counsel  against  Tyre?  Who 
has  contrived  it?  Who  has  resolved  it?  Who  can 
find  in  his  heart  to  lay  such  a  stately,  lovely  city  in 
ruins?  And  how  is  it  possible  it  should  be  effected? 
To  this  it  will  be  answered; 

[1.]  God  has  designed  it,  who  is  infinitely  wise 
and  just,  and  never  did,  nor  ever  will  do,  any  wrong 
to  any  of  his  creatures;  (y.  9.)  The  Lord  of  hosts, 
that  has  all  things  at  his  disposal,  and  gives  not  ac¬ 
count  of  any  of  his  matters,  he  has  purposed  it;  it 
shall  be  done  according  to  the  counsel  of  his  will;  and 
that  which  he  aims  at  herein,  is,  to  stain  the  pride  of 
all  glory,  to  pollute  it,  profane  it,  and  throw  it  to  be 
trodden  upon;  and  to  bring  into  contempt,  and  make 
despicable,  all  the  honourable  ones  of  the  earth,  that 
they  may  not  admire  themselves,  and  be  admired 
by  others,  as  usual.  God  did  not  bring  those  cala¬ 
mities  upon  Tyre  in  a  way  of  sovereignty,  to  show 
an  arbitrary  and  irresistible  power;  but  he  did  it  to 
punish  the  Tyrians  for  their  pride.  Many  other  I 


XXIII. 

sins,  no  doubt,  reigned  among  them;  idolatry,  sen¬ 
suality,  and  oppression;  but  the  sin  of  pride  is  fast¬ 
ened  upon,  as  that  which  was  the  particular  ground 
of  God’s  controversy  with  Tyre,  for  he  resists  the 
proud.  All  the  world  observing,  and  being  sur¬ 
prised  at,  the  desolation  of  Tyre,  we  have  here  an 
exposition  of  it.  God  tells  the  world  what  he  meant 
by  it:  First,  He  designed  to  convince  men  of  the 
vanity  and  uncertainty  of  all  earthly  glory;  to  show 
them  what  a  withering,  fading,  perishing  thing  it 
is,  even  then  when  it  seems  most  substantial.  It 
were  well  if  men  would  be  thoroughly  taught  this 
lesson,  though  it  were  at  the  expense  of  so  great  a 
destruction.  Are  men’s  learning  and  wealth,  their 
pomp  and  power,  their  interest  in,  and  influence 
upon,  all  about  them,  their  glory?  Are  their  stately 
houses,  rich  furniture,  and  splendid  appearances, 
their  glory?  Look  upon  the  ruins  of  Tyre,  and  see 
all  this  glory  stained,  and  sullied,  and  buried  in  the 
dust.  The  honourable  ones  of  heaven  will  be  for 
ever  such;  but  see  the  grandees  of  Tyre,  some  fled 
into  banishment,  others  forced  into  captivity,  and 
all  impoverished;  and  you  will  conclude  that  the 
honourable  of  the  earth,  even  the  most  honourable, 
know  not  how  soon  they  may  be  brought  into  con¬ 
tempt.  Secondly,  He  designed  hereby  to  prevent 
their  being  proud  of  their  glory,  their  being  puffed 
up,  and  confident  of  the  continuance  of  it.  Let  the 
ruin  of  Tyre  be  a  warning  to  all  places  and  persons 
to  take  heed  of  pride,  for  it  proclaims  to  all  the 
world,  that  he  who  exalts  himself  shall  be  abased. 

[2.]  God  will  do  it,  who  has  all  power  in  his 
hand,  and  can  do  it  effectually;  (y.  11.)  He  stretch¬ 
ed  out  his  hand  over  the  sea;  he  has  done  it,  wit¬ 
ness  the  dividing  of  the  Red  sea,  and  the  drowning 
of  Pharaoh  in  it.  He  has  often  shaken  the  king¬ 
doms  that  were  most  secure;  and  he  has  now  given 
commandment  concerning  this  merchant-city,  to 
destroy  the  strong  holds  thereof.  As  its  beauty 
shall  not  intercede  for  it,  but  that  shall  be  stained; 
so  its  strength  shall  not  protect  it,  but  that  shall  be 
broken.  If  any  think  it  strange  that  a  city  so  well 
fortified,  and  that  has  so  many  powerful  allies, 
should  be  so  totally  ruined,  let  them  know  that  it  is 
the  Lord  of  hosts  that  has  given  a  commandment 
to  destroy  the  strong  holds  thereof;  and  who  can 
gainsay  his  orders,  or  hinder  the  execution  of  them  5 

(2.)  The  Chaldeans  shall  be  the  instruments  of 
it;  (d.  13.)  Behold  the  land  of  the  Chaldeans;  how 
easily  they  and  their  land  were  destroyed  by  the 
Assyrians.  Though  their  own  hands  founded  it,  set 
up  the  towers  of  Babylon,  and  raised  up  its  palaces, 
yet  he,  the  Assyrian,  brought  it  to  ruin;  whence  the 
Tyrians  might  infer,  that  as  easily  as  the  old  Chal¬ 
deans  were  subdued  by  the  Assyrians,  so  easily  shall 
Tyre  be  vanquished  by  those  new  Chaldeans.  Babel 
was  built  by  the  Assyrian,  for  them  that  dwell  in 
the  wilderness.  It  may  be  rendered,  for  the  ships. 
The  Assyrians  founded  it  for  ships,  and  ship-men 
that  traffic  upon  those  vast  rivers  Tigris  and  Eu¬ 
phrates  to  the  Persian  and  Indian  seas;  for  men  oj 
the  desert;  for  Babylon  is  called  the  desert  of  the 
sea,  ch.  xxi.  1.  Thus  Tyrus  was  built  upon  the 
sea  for  the  like  purpose.  But  the  Assyrians  (says 
Dr.  Lightfoot)  brought  that  to  ruin,  now  lately,  in 
Hezekiah’s  time,  and  so  shall  Tyre,  hereafter,  be 
brought  to  ruin  by  Nebuchadnezzar.  If  we  looked 
more  upon  the  failing  and  withering  of  others,  we 
should  not  be  so  confident  as  we  commonly  are  of 
the  continuance  of  our  own  flourishing  and  standing. 

1 5.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass  in  that  day, 
that  Tyre  shall  be  forgotten  seventy  years, 
according  to  the  days  of  one  king:  after  the 
!  end  of  seventy  years  shall  Tyre  sing  as  a 
!!  harlot.  16.  Take  a  harp,  go  about  the  citv, 


108  ISAIAH,  XXIII. 


thou  harlot  that  hast  been  forgotten :  make 
sweet  melody,  sing  many  songs,  that  thou 
mayest  be  remembered.  17.  And  it  shall 
come  to  pass,  after  the  end  of  seventy  years, 
that  the  Lord  will  visit  Tyre,  and  she  shall 
turn  to  her  hire,  and  shall  commit  fornica¬ 
tion  with  all  the  kingdoms  of  the  world 
upon  the  face  of  the  earth.  18.  And  her 
merchandise  and  her  hire  shall  be  holiness 
to  the  Lord  :  it  shall  not  be  treasured  nor 
laid  up;  for  her  merchandise  shall  be  for 
them  that  dwell  before  the  Lord,  to  eat 
sufficiently,  and  for  durable  clothing. 

Here  is, 

I.  The  time  fixed  for  the  continuance  of  the  de¬ 
solations  of  Tyre,  which  were  not  to  be  perpetual 
desolations;  Tyre  shall  be  forgotten  70  years,  v.  15. 
So  long  it  shall  lie  neglected,  and  buried  in  obscuri¬ 
ty.  It  was  destroyed  by  Nebuchadnezzar  much 
about  the  time  that  Jerusalem  was,  and  lay  as  long 
as  it  did  in  its  ruins.  See  the  folly  of  that  proud 
ambitious  conqueror.  What  the  richer,  what  the 
stronger,  was  he  for  making  himself  master  of  Tyre, 
when  all  the  inhabitants  were  driven  cut  of  it,  and 
he  had  none  of  his  own  subjects  to  spare  for  the  re¬ 
plenishing  and  fortifying  of  it?  It  is  strange  what 
pleasure  men  could  take  in  destroying  cities,  and 
making  their  memorial  perish  with  them,  Ps.  ix.  6. 
He  trampled  on  the  pride  of  Tyre,  and  therein  serv¬ 
ed  God’s  purpose;  but  with  greater  pride,  for  which 
God  soon  after  humbled  him. 

II.  A  prophecy  of  the  restoration  of  Tyre  to  its 
glory  again;  After  the  end  of  70  years,  according 
to  the  years  of  one  king,  or  one  dynasty,  or  family, 
of  kings,  that  of  Nebuchadnezzar;  when  that  ex¬ 
pired,  the  desolations  of  Tyre  came  to  an  end. 
And  we  may  presume  that  Cyrus  at  the  same  time, 
when  he  released  the  Jews,  and  encouraged  them 
to  rebuild  Jerusalem,  released  the  Tyrians  also,  and 
encouraged  them  to  rebuild  Tyre.  Thus  the  pros¬ 
perity  and  adversity  of  places,  as  well  as  persons, 
are  set  the  one  over  against  the  other;  that  the  most 
glorious  cities  may  not  be  secure,  nor  the  most  ruin¬ 
ous  despair.  It  is  foretold, 

1.  That  God’s  providence  shall  again  smile  upon 
this  ruined  city;  (v.  17.)  The  Lord  will  visit  Tyre 
in  mercy;  for  though  he  contend,  he  will  not  con¬ 
tend  for  ever.  It  is  not  said,  Her  old  acquaintance 
shall  visit  her,  the  colonies  she  has  planted,  and  the 
trading  cities  she  has  had  correspondence  with;  they 
have  forgotten  her;  but,  The  Lord  shall  visit  her 
by  some  unthought-of  turn;  he  shall  cause  his  in¬ 
dignation  toward  her  to  cease,  and  then  things  will 
run,  of  course,  in  their  former  channel. 

2.  That  she  shall  use  her  best  endeavours  to  re¬ 
cover  her  trade  again.  She  shall  sing  as  a  harlot, 
that  has  been  some  time  under  correction  for  her 
lewdness:  but,  when  she  is  set  at  liberty,  (so  violent 
is  the  bent  of  corruption,)  she  will  use  her  old  arts 
of  temptation.  The  Tyrians  being  returned  from 
their  captivity,  and  those  that  remained  recovering 
new  spirits  thereupon,  they  shall  contrive  how  to 
force  a  trade,  shall  procure  the  best  choice  of  goods, 
undersell  their  neighbours,  and  be  obliging  to  all 
customers;  as  a  harlot  that  has  been  forgotten, 
when  she  comes  to  be  spoken  of  again,  recommends 
herself  to  company  by  singing  and  playing;  takes  a 
harp,  goes  about  the  city,  perhaps  in  the  night,  se¬ 
renading,  makes  sweet  ’ melody,  and  sings  many 
songs.  These  are  innocent  and  allowable  diver¬ 
sions,  if  soberly  and  moderately  and  modestly  used; 
but  those  that’  are  attached  to  them  should"  not  be 
over  fond  of  them,  nor  ambitious  to  excel  in  them; 


because,  whatever  they  are  now,  anciently  they 
were  some  of  the  baits  with  which  harlots  used  to 
entice  fools.  Tyre  shall  now  by  degrees  come  to  be 
the  mart  of  nations  again;  she  shall  return  to  her 
hire,  to  her  traffic,  and  shall  commit  fornication: 
she  shall  have  dealings  in  trade  (for  she  carries  on 
the  similitude  of  a  harlot)  with  all  the  kingdoms  of 
the  world,  that  she  had  formerly  traded  with  in 
her  prosperity.  The  love  of  worldly  wealth  is  a  spi¬ 
ritual  whoredom,  and  therefore  covetous  people 
are  called  adulterers  and  adulteresses,  (James  iv.  4. ) 
and  covetousness  is  spiritual  idolatry. 

3.  That, having  recovered  hertrade  again,  she  shall 
make  a  better  use  of  it  than  she  had  done  formerly; 
and  this  good  she  should  get  by  her  calamities,  (v. 
18.)  Her  merchandise,  and  her  hire,  shall  be  holiness 
to  the  Lord.  The  trade  of  Tyre,  and  all  the  gain  of 
her  trade,  shall  be  devoted  to  God  and  to  his  honour, 
and  employed  in  his  service.  It  shall  not  be  trea¬ 
sured  and  hoarded  up,  as  formerly,  to  be  the  matter 
of  their  pride,  and  the  support  of  their  carnal  confi¬ 
dence;  but  it  shall  be  laid  out  in  acts  of  piety  and 
charity.  What  thev  can  spare  from  the  mainten¬ 
ance  of  themselves  and  their  families,  shall  be  for 
them  that  dwell  before  the  Lord,  for  the  priests,  the 
Lord’s  ministers  that  attend  in  his  temple  at  Jeru 
salem ;  not  to  maintain  them  in  pomp  and  grandeur, 
but  that  they  and  theirs  may  eat  sufficiently,  may 
have  food  convenient  for  them,  with  as  little  as  may 
be  of  that  care  which  would  divert  them  from  their 
ministration;  and  that  they  may  have,  not  rich  and 
fine  clothing,  but  durable  clothing,  that  which  is 
strong  and  lasting;  clothing  for  old  men;  so  some 
read  it;  as  if  the  priests,  though  they  were  young, 
must  wear  such  plain,  grave  clothing  as  old  mi  n 
used  to  wear.  Now,  (1.)  This  supposes  that  reli¬ 
gion  should  be  set  up  in  New  Tyre,  that  they  should 
come  to  the  knowledge  of  the  true  God,  and  into 
communion  with  the  Israel  of  God.  Perhaps  their 
being  fellow-captives  with  the  Jews  in  Babylon, 
(who  had  prophets  with  them  there,)  disposed  them 
to  join  with  them  in  their  worship  there,  and  turned 
them  from  idols,  as  it  cured  the  Jews  of  their  idola¬ 
try;  and  when  they  were  released  with  them,  and, 
as  they  had  reason  to  believe,  for  their  sakes,  when 
they  were  settled  again  in  Tyre,  they  would  send 
gifts  and  offerings  to  the  temple,  and  presents  to 
the  priests.  We  find  men  of  Tyre  then  dwell¬ 
ing  in  the  land  of  Judah,  Neh.  xiii.  16.  Tvre  and 
Sidon  were  better  disposed  to  religion  in  Christ’s 
time,  than  the  cities  of  Israel,  for  if  Christ  had  gone 
among  them,  they  would  have  repented,  Matth.  xi. 
21.  And  we  meet  with  Christians  at  Tyre,  (Acts 
xxi.  3. )  and,  many  years  after,  did  Christianity  flour¬ 
ish  there.  Some  of  the  rabbins  refer  this  prophecy 
of  the  conversion  of  Tyre  to  the  days  of  the  Mes¬ 
siah.  (2. )  It  directs  those  that  have  estates,  to  make 
use  of  them  in  the  service  of  God  and  religion,  and 
to  reckon  that  best  laid  up,  which  is  so  laid  rut. 
Both  the  merchandise  of  the  tradesman,  and  the 
hire  of  the  day-labourers,  shall  be  devoted  to  God. 
Both  the  merchandise,  (the  employment  we  follow,) 
and  the  hire,  (the  gain  of  our  employment,)  must 
be  holiness  to  the  Lord ;  alluding  to  the  motto  en¬ 
graven  on  the  frontlet  of  the  High-Priest,  (Exod. 
xxxix.  30.)  and  to  the  separation  of  the  tithe  under 
the  law.  Lev.  xxvii.  30.  See  a  promise  like  this 
referring  to  gospel-times,  Zech.  xiv.  20,  21.  We 
must  first  give  up  ourselves  to  be  holiness  to  the 
Lord,  before  what  we  do,  or  have,  or  get,  can  be 
so.  When  we  abide  with  God  in  our  particular  call 
ings,  and  do  common  actions  after  a  godly  sort,  when 
we  abound  in  works  of  piety  and  charity,  are  liberal 
in  relieving  the  poor,  and  supporting  the  ministry, 
and  encouraging  the  gospel,  then  our  merchandise 
and  our  hire  are  holiness  to  the  Lord,  if  we  sin 
cerely  look  at  his  glory  in  it.  And  it  need  not 


ISAIAH,  XXIV. 


109 


ic  treasured  and  laid  up  on  earth;  for  it  is  trea¬ 
sured  and  laid  up  in  heaven,  in  bags  that  ivax  not 
old,  Luke  xii.  33. 

CHAP.  XXJV. 

It  is  agreed  that  here  begins  a  new  sermon,  which  is  con¬ 
tinued  to  the  end  of  ch.  xxvii.  And  in  it,  the  prophet, 
according  to  the  directions  he  had  received,  does,  in 
many  precious  promises,  say  to  the  righteous,  It  shall  be 
well  icith  them;  and,  in  many  dreadful  threatening,  he 
says,  Wo  to  the  xoicked,  it  shall  be  ill  xoith  them;  (ch.  iii. 

1 0*  11.)  and  these  are  interwoven,  that  they  may  illus¬ 
trate  each  other.  This  chapter  is,  mostly,  threatening; 
and  as  the  judgments  threatened  are  very  sore  and  griev¬ 
ous  ones,  so  the  people  threatened  with  those  judgments, 
are  very  many.  It  is  not  the  burthen  of  any  particu¬ 
lar  city  or  kingdom,  as  those  before,  but  the  burthen 
of  the  whole  earth.  The  word  indeed  signifies  only  the 
land ,  because  our  own  land  is  commonly  to  us  as  all  the 
earth.  But  it  is  here  explained  by  another  word  that  it 
is  not  so  confined,  it  is  the  world ,  v.  4.  So  that  it  must, 
at  least,  take  in  a  whole  neighbourhood  of  nations.  I . 
Some  think  (and  very  probably)  that  it  is  a  prophecy  of 
the  great  havoc  that  Sennacherib  and  his  Assyrian  army 
should  now  shortly  make  of  many  of  the  nations  in  that 
part  of  the  world.  2.  Others  make  it  to  point  at  the  like 
devastations  which,  about  100  years  after,  Nebuchad¬ 
nezzar  and  his  armies  should  make  in  the  same  coun¬ 
tries;  going  from  one  kingdom  to  another,  not  only  to 
conquer  them,  but  to  ruin  them,  and  lay  them  wraste;  for 
that  was  the  method  which  those  eastern  nations  took 
in  their  wars.  The  promises  that  are  mixed  with  the 
threatenings,  are  intended  for  the  support  and  comfort 
of  the  people  of  God  in  those  very  calamitous  times. 
And  since  here  are  no  particular  nations  named,  either 
by  whom,  or  on  whom,  those  desolations  should  be 
brought,  I  see  not  but  it  may  refer  to  both  these  events. 
Nay,  the  scripture  has  many  fulfilling’s,  and  we  ought  to 
give  it  its  full  latitude;  and  therefore  I  incline  to  think 
that  the  prophet,  from  those  and  the  like  instances  which 
he  had  a  particular  eye  to,  designs  here  to  represent  in 
general  the  calamitous  state  of  mankind,  and  the  many 
miseries  which  human  life  is  liable  to,  especially  those 
that  attend  the  wars  of  the  nations.  Surely  the  prophets 
were  sent,  not  only  to  foretell  particular  events,  but  to 
form  the  minds  of  men  to  virtue  and  piety,  and  for  that 
end  their  prophecies  were  written  and  preserved,  even 
for  our  learning,  and  therefore  ought  not  to  be  looked 
upon  as  of  private  interpretation.  N  ow,  since  a  thorough 
conviction  of  the  vanity  of  the  world,  and  its  insufficiency 
to  make  us  happy,  will  go  far  toward  bringing  us  to 
God,  and  drawing  out  our  affections  towards  another 
world,  the  prophet  here  shows  what  vexation  of  spirit 
we  must  expect  to  meet  with  in  these  things,  that  we 
may  never  take  up  our  rest  in  them,  nor  promise  our¬ 
selves  satisfaction  any  where  short  of  the  enjoyment  of 
God.  In  this  chapter,  we  have,  1.  A  threatening  of 
desolating  judgments  for  sin;  (v.  1..12.)  to  this  is 
added  an  assurance,  that,  in  the  midst  of  them,  good 
people  should  be  comforted,  (v.  13 ..  16.)  II.  A  further 
threatening  of  the  like  desolations,  (v.  16. .  22.)  to  which 
is  added  an  assurance,  that,  in  the  midst  of  all,  God 
should  be  glorified. 

l.TJEHOLD,  the  Lord  maketh  the 
Jj  earth  empty;  and  maketh  it  waste, 
and  turneth  it  upside  down,  and  scattereth 
abroad  the  inhabitants  thereof.  2.  And  it 
shall  be,  as  with  the  people,  so  with  the 
priest;  as  with  the  servant,  so  with  his  mas¬ 
ter  ;  as  with  the  maid,  so  with  her  mistress ; 
as  with  the  buyer,  so  with  the  seller ;  as 
with  the  lender,  so  with  the  borrower ;  as 
with  the  taker  of  usury,  so  with  the  giver  of 
usury  to  him.  3.  The  land  shall  be  utterly 
emptied,  and  utterly  spoiled:  for  the  Lord 
hath  spoken  this  word.  4.  The  earth 
moumeth,  and  fadeth  away;  the  world 
languisheth,  and  fadeth  away ;  the  haughty 
people  of  the  earth  do  languish.  5.  The 


earth  also  is  defiled  under  the  inhabitants 
thereof,  because  they  have  transgressed  the 
laws,  changed  the  ordinance,  broken  the 
everlasting  covenant.  G.  Therefore  hath 
the  curse  devoured  the  earth,  and  they  that 
dwell  therein  are  desolate:  therefore  the 
inhabitants  of  the  earth  are  burned,  and  few 
men  left.  7.  The  new  wine  mourneth,  the 
vine  languisheth,  all  the  merry-hearted  do 
sigh.  8.  The  mirth  of  tablets  ceaseth,  the 
noise  of  them  that  rejoice  endeth,  the  joy  of 
the  harp  ceaseth.  9.  They  shall  not  drink 
wine  with  a  song;  strong  drink  shall  be  bitter 
to  them  that  drink  it.  1 0.  The  city  of  confu¬ 
sion  is  broken  down ;  every  house  is  shut  up, 
that  no  man  may  come  in.  1 1 .  There  is  a 
crying  for  wine  in  the  streets;  all  joy  is  dark¬ 
ened,  the  mirth  of  the  land  is  gone.  12.  In 
the  city  is  left  desolation, and  the  gate  is  smit¬ 
ten  with  destruction. 

It  is  a  very  dark  and  melancholy  scene  that  this 
prophecy  presents  to  our  view;  turn  our  eves  which 
way  we  will,  every  thing  looks  dismal.  The  deso¬ 
lations  are  here  described  in  a  great  variety  of  ex¬ 
pressions  to  the  same  purport,  and  all  aggravating. 

I.  The  earth  is  stripped  of  all  its  ornaments,  and 
looks  as  if  it  were  taken  off  its  basis;  it  is  made 
empty  and  waste,  (n.  1. )  as  if  it  were  reduced  to  its 
first  chaos,  Tohu  and  Bohu,  nothing  but  confusion 
and  emptiness  again,  (Gen.  i.  2.)  without  form  and 
void.  It  is  true,  earth  sometimes  signifies  the  land, 
and  so  the  same  word  Eretz  is  here  translated;  (r. 
3.)  The  land  shall  be  utterly  emptied,  arid  utterly 
spoiled ;  but  I  see  not  why  it  should  not  there,  as 
well  as  v.  1.  be  translated  the  earth ;  for  most  com¬ 
monly,  if  not  always,  where  it  signifies  some  one 
particular  land,  it  lias  something  joined  to  it,  or,  at 
least,  not  far  from  it,  which  does  so  appropriate  it; 
as,  the  land  (or  earth)  of  Egypt,  or  Canaan ;  or  this 
land,  or  ours,  or  yours,  or  the  like.  It  might  indeed 
refer  to  some  particular  country,  and  an  ambiguous 
word  might  be  used  to  warrant  such  an  application; 
for  it  is  good  to  apply  to  ourselves,  and  our  own 
lands,  what  the  scripture  says  in  general,  of  the  va¬ 
nity  and  vexation  of  spirit  that  attend  all  things  here 
below ;  but  it  should  seem  designed  to  speak  wlfat 
often  happens  to  many  countries,  and  will  do  while 
the  world  stands,  and  what  may,  we  know  not  how 
soon,  happen  to  our  own,  and  what  is  the  general 
character  of  all  earthly  things,  they  are  empty  f  f 
all  solid  comfort  and  satisfaction,  a  little  thing  makes 
them  waste.  We  often  see  numerous  families,  and 
plentiful  estates,  utterly  emptied,  and  utterly  spc.il- 
ed,  by  one  judgment  or  other,  or  perhaps  only  by  a 
gradual  and  insensible  decay.  Sin  has  turned  the 
earth  upside  down;  the  earth  is  become  quite  a  dif¬ 
ferent  thing  to  man  from  what  it  was  when  God 
made  it  to  be  his  habitation.  Sin  has  also  scattered 
abroad  the  inhabitants  thereof;  the  rebellion  at  Ba¬ 
bel  was  the  occasion  of  the  dispersion  there.  How 
many  ways  are  there  in  which  the  inhabitants  both 
of  towns  and  of  private  houses  are  scattered  abroad, 
so  that  near  relations  and  old  neighbours  know  no¬ 
thing  of  one  another!  To  the  same  purport,  v.  4. 
The  earth  mourns,  and  fades  away;  it  disappoints 
those  that  placed  their  happiness  in  it,  and  raised 
their  expectations  high  from  it,  and  proves  not  what 
they  promised  themselves  it  would  be;  The  whole 
world  languishes  and  fades  away,  as  hastening  to¬ 
ward  a  dissolution.  It  is,  at  the  best,  like  a  flower, 
which  withers  in  the  hands  of  those  that  please 


no 


ISAIAH,  XXIV. 


themselves  too  much  with  it,  and  lay  it  in  their  bo¬ 
soms.  And  as  the  earth  itself  grows  old,  so  they  that 
dwell  therein  are  desolate;  men  carry  crazy,  sickly 
bodies  along  with  them,  are  often  solitary,  and  con¬ 
fined  by  affliction,  v.  6.  When  the  earth  languishes, 
and  is  not  so  fruitful  as  it  used  to  be,  then  they 
that  dwell  therein,  that  make  it  their  home,  and 
rest,  and  portion,  are  desolate;  whereas  they  that 
Dy  faith  dwell  in  God,  can  rejoice  in  him,  even  when 
the  fig-tree  does  not  blossom.  If  we  look  abroad, 
and  see  in  how  many  places  pestilences  and  burn¬ 
ing  fevers  rage,  and  what  multitudes  are  swept 
away  by  them  in  a  little  time,  so  that  sometimes  the 
living  scarcely  suffice  to  bury  the  dead,  perhaps  we 
shall  understand  what  the  prophet  means,  when  he 
says,  The  inhabitants  of  the  earth  are  burned,  or 
consumed,  some  by  one  disease,  others  by  another, 
and  there  are  but  few  men  left,  in  comparison. 
Note,  The  world  we  live  in  is  a  world  of  disappoint¬ 
ment,  a  vale  of  tears,  and  a  dying  world;  and  the 
children  of  men  in  it  are  but  of  few  days,  and  full 
of  trouble. 

II.  It  is  God  that  brings  all  these  calamities  upon 
the  earth;  the  Lord  that  made  the  earth,  and  made 
it  fruitful  and  beautiful,  for  the  service  and  comfort 
of  man,  now  makes  it  empty  and  waste;  (y.  1.) 
for  its  Creator  is,  and  will  be,  its  Judge;  he  has  an 
incontestable  right  to  pass  sentence  upon  it,  and  an 
irresistible  power  to  execute  that  sentence.  It  is 
the  Lord  that  has  spoken  this  word,  and  he  will  do 
the  work;  (u.  3.)  it  is  his  curse  that  has  devoured 
the  earth,  (y.  6. )  the  general  curse  which  sin  brought 
upon  the  ground  for  man’s  sake,  (Gen.  iii.  17. )  and 
all  the  particular  curses  which  families  and  coun¬ 
tries  bring  upon  themselves  by  their  enormous  wick¬ 
edness.  See  the  power  of  God’s  curse,  how  it  makes 
all  empty,  and  lays  all  waste;  those  whom  he 
curses,  are  cursed  indeed. 

III.  Persons  of  all  ranks  and  conditions  shall 

share  in  these  calamities;  (t>.  2.)  It  shall  be,  as  with 
the  people,  so  with  the  priest,  &c.  This  is  ti-ue  of 
many  of  the  common  calamities  of  human  life;  all 
are  subject  to  the  same  diseases  of  body,  sorrows  of 
mind,  afflictions  in  relations,  and  the  like;  there  is 
one  event  to  those  of  very  different  stations;  time  and 
chance  happen  to  them  all.  It  is  in  a  special  manner 
true  ot  the  destroying  judgments  which  God  some¬ 
times  brings  upon  sinful  nations;  when  he  pleases, 
he  can  make  them  universal,  so  that  none  shall  es¬ 
cape  them,  or  be  exempt  from  them;  whether  men 
have  little  or  much,  they  shall  lose  it  all.  Those  of 
the  meaner  rank  smart  first  by  famine;  but  those 
of  the  higher  rank  go  first  into  captivitv,  while  the 
poor  of  the  land  are  left.  It  should  be 'all  alike,  1. 
With  high  and  low;  .Is  with  the  people,  so  with  the 
priest,  or  prince.  The  dignity  of  magistrates  and 
ministers,  and  the  respect  and  reverence  owing  to 
both,  shall  not  secure  them;  the  faces  of  elders  are 
not  honoured,  Lam.  v.  12.  The  priests  had  been 
as  corrupt  and  wicked  as  the  people;  and  if  their 
character  serve  not  to  restrain  them  from  sin,  how 
can  they  expect  it  should  serve  to  secure  them  from 
judgments?  In  both,  it  is  like  people,  like  priest, 
Hosea  iv.  8,  9.  2.  With  bond  and  free;  As  with 

the  servant,  so  with  his  master;  as  with  the  maid, 
so  with  her  mistress;  they  have  all  corrupted  their 
way,  and  therefore  will  all  be  made  miserable  when 
the  earth  is  made  waste.  3.  With  rich  and  poor; 
those  that  have  money  beforehand,  that  are  pur¬ 
chasing,  and  letting  out  money  to  interest,  will  fare 
no  better  than  those  that  are  so  impoverished,  that 
they  are  forced  to  sell  their  estates,  and  take  up 
money  at  interest.  There  are  judgments  short  of 
the  great  day  of  judgment,  in  which  rich  and  poor 
meet  together.  Let  not  those  that  are  advance^ 
in  the  world,  set  their  inferiors  at  too  great  a  dis¬ 
tance,  because  they  know  not  how  soon  they  may 


be  set  upon  a  level  with  them.  The  rich  man’s 
wealth  is  his  strong  city,  in  his  own  conceit;  but  it 
does  not  always  prove  so. 

IV.  It  is  sin  that  brings  these  calamities  upon  the 
earth;  Therefore  the  earth  is  made  empty,  and 
fades  away,  because  it  is  defiled  under  the  inhabi¬ 
tants  thereof;  (v.  5.)  it  is  polluted  by  the  -sins  of 
men,  and  therelore  it  is  made  desolate  by  the  judg¬ 
ments  of  God.  Such  is  the  filthy  nature  of  sin,  that 
it  defiles  the  earth  itself  under  the  sinful  inhabitants 
thereof,  and  it  is  rendered  unpleasant  in  the  eves  of 
God  and  good  men.  See  Lev.  xviii.  25,  27,  28. 
Blood,  in  particular,  defiles  the  land.  Numb.  xxxv. 
33.  The  earth  never  spues  out  its  inhabitants,  till 
they  have  first  defiled  it  by  their  sins.  Why,  what 
have  they  done?  1.  They  have  transgressed  the 
laws  of  their  creation,  not  answered  the  ends  of  it: 
the  bonds  of  the  law  of  nature  have  been  broken  by 
them,  and  they  have  cast  from  them  the  cords  of 
their  obligations  to  the  God  of  nature.  2.  They 
have  changed  the  ordinances  of  revealed  religion, 
those  of  them  that  have  had  the  benefit  of  that. 
They  have  neglected  the  ordincmces;  so  some  read 
it;  and  have  made  no  consciencrtof  observing  them; 
they  have  passed  over  the  laws,  in  the  commission 
of  sin,  and  have  passed  by  the  ordinance,  in  the 
omission  of  duty.  3.  Herein  they  have  broken  the 
everlasting  covenant,  which  is  a  perpetual  bond,  and 
will  be  to  those  that  keep  it  a  perpetual  blessing.  It 
is  God’s  wonderful  condescension,  that  he  is  pleased 
to  deal  with  men  in  a  covenant-way;  to  do  them 
good,  and  thereby  oblige  them  to  do  him  service. 
Even  those  that  had  no  benefit  by  God’s  covenant 
with  Abraham,  had  benefit  by  his  covenant  with 
Noah  and  his  sons,  which  is  called  an  everlasting 
covenant,  his  covenant  with  day  and  night;  but  they 
observe  not  the  precepts  of  the  sons  of  Noah,  they 
acknowledge  not  God’s  goodness  in  the  day  and 
night,  nor  study  to  make  him  any  grateful  returns, 
and  so  break  the  everlasting  covenant,  and  defeat 
the  gracious  designs  and  intentions  of  it. 

V.  These  judgments  shall  humble  men’s  pride, 
and  mar  their  mirth:  when  the  earth  is  made  empty. 

1.  It  is  a  great  mortification  to  men’s  pride;  (y. 
4.)  The  haughty  people  of  the  earth  do  languish; 
for  they  have  lost  that  which  supported  their  pride, 
and  for  which  they  magnified  themselves:  those  that 
have  held  their  heads  highest,  God  can  make  hang 
the  head. 

2.  It  is  a  great  damp  to  men’s  jollity;  this  is  en¬ 
larged  upon  much;  (f.  7 — 9.)  All  the  merry-hearted 
do  sigh;  such  is  the  nature  pf  carnal  mirth,  it  is  but 
as  the  crackling  of  thorns  under  a  pot,  Eccl.  vii.  6. 
Great  laughters  commonly  end  in  a  sigh:  they  that 
make  the  world  their  chief  joy,  cannot  rejoice  ever¬ 
more.  When  God  sends  his  judgments  into  the 
earth,  he  designs  thereby  to  make  those  serious 
that  were  wholly  addicted  to  their  pleasures;  Let 
your  laughter  be  turned  into  mourning.  When  the 
earth  is  emptied,  the  noise  of  them  that  rejoice  in  it, 
ends.  Carnal  joy  is  a  noisy  thing;  but  the  noise  of  it 
will  soon  be  at  an  end,  and  the  end  of  it  is  heaviness. 

Two  things  are  made  use  of  to  excite  and  express 
vain  mirth,  and  the  jovial  crew  is  here  deprived  of 
both;  (1.)  Drinking;  the  new  wine  mourns,  it  is 
grown  sour  for  want  of  drinking;  for,  how  proper 
soever  it  may  be  for  the  heavy  heart,  (Prov.  xxxi. 
6.)  it  does  not  relish  then  as  it  does  to  the  merrv- 
hearted:  the  vine  languishes,  and  gives  little  hopes 
of  a  vintage,  and  therefore  the  merry-hearted  do 
sigh;  for  they  know  no  other  gladness  than  that  <  f 
their  corn  and  wine  and  oil  increasing,  (Ps.  iv.  7.t 
and  if  you  destroy  their  vines  and  their  fig-trees,  you 
make  all  their  mirth  to  cease,  Hos.  ii.  11,  12.  They 
shall  not  now  drink  wine  with  a  song,  as  they  uset. 
tc  do,  and  with  huzzas;  but  rather  drink  it  with  a 
sigh:  nay,  Strong  drink  shall  be  bitter  to  them  that 


ISAIAH,  XXIV. 


drink  it,  bc(  ause  they  cannot  but  mingle  their  tears 
with  it;  or,  through  sickness,  they  have  lost  the  re¬ 
lish  of  it  God  has  many  ways  to  imbitter  wine  and 
strong  drink  to  them  that  love  them,  and  have  the 
highest  gust'of  them:  distemper  of  body,  anguish  of 
mind,  the  ruin  of  the  estate  or  country,  will  make 
tlie  strong  drink  bitter,  and  all  the  delights  of  sense 
tasteless  and  insipid.  (2.)  Music;  The  mirth  of 
tabrets  ceases,  and  the  joy  of  the  harp,  which  used 
to  be  at  their  feasts,  ch.  v.  12.  The  captives  in  Ba¬ 
bylon  hang  their  harps  on  the  willow  trees.  In 
short,  all  joy  is  darkened,  there  is  not  a  pleasant 
look  to  be  seen,  nor  has  any  one  power  to  force  a 
smile;  all  the  mirth  of  the  land  is  gone,  (y.  11.)  and 
if  it  were  that  mirth  which  Solomon  calls  madness, 
there  is  no  great  loss  of  it 

VI.  The  cities  will  in  a  particular  manner  feel 
from  these  desolations  of  the  country;  {v.  10.)  The 
city  of  confusion  is  broken,  is  broken  down;  so  we 
read  it;  it  lies  exposed  to  invading  powers,  not  only 
by'  the  breaking  down  of  its  walls,  but  by  the  con¬ 
fusion  that  the  inhabitants  are  in;  every  house  is 
shut  up;  perhaps  by  reason  of  the  plague,  which  has 
burned  or  consumed  the  inhabitants,  so  that  there 
are  few  men  left,  v.  6.  Houses  infected  are  usually 
shut  up,  that  no  man  may  come  in:  or,  they  are 
shut  up  because  they  are  deserted  and  uninhabited. 
There  is  a  crying  for  wine,  for  the  spoiling  of  the 
vintage,  so  that  there  is  likely  to  be  no  wine.  In 
the  city,  in  Jerusalem  itself,  that  had  been  so  much 
frequented,  there  shall  be  left  nothing  but  desola¬ 
tion;  grass  shall  grow  in  the  streets,  and  the  gate  is 
smitten  with  destruction;  (v.  12.)  all  that  used  to 
pass  and  repass  through  the  gate,  are  smitten,  and 
all  the  strength  of  the  city  is  cut  off.  How  soon  can 
God  make  a  city  of  order  a  city  of  confusion,  and 
then  it  will  soon  be  a  city  of  desolation! 

1 3.  When  thus  it  shall  be  in  the  midst  of 
the  land  among  the  people,  there  shall  be  as 
the  shaking  of  an  olive-tree,  and  as  the 
gleaning-grapes  when  the  vintage  is  done. 

1 4.  They  shall  lift  up  their  voice,  they  shall 
sing  for  the  majesty  of  the  Lord,  they  shall 
cry  aloud  from  the  sea.  15.  Wherefore 
glorify  ye  the  Lord  in  the  fires,  even  the 
name  of  the  Lord  God  of  Israel  in  the  isles 
of  the  sea. 

Here  is  mercy  remembered  in  the  midst  of  wrath; 
in  Judah  and  Jerusalem,  and  the  neighbouring  coun¬ 
tries,  when  they  are  overrun  by  the  enemy,  Sen¬ 
nacherib  or  Nebuchadnezzar,  there  shall  be  a  rem¬ 
nant  preserved  from  the  general  ruin,  and  it  shall 
be  a  devout  and  pious  remnant.  And  this  method 
God  usually  observes,  when  his  judgments  are 
abroad;  he  does  not  make  a  full  end,  ch.  vi.  13.  Or, 
we  may  take  it  thus;  Though  the  greatest  part  of 
mankind  have  all  their  comfort  ruined  by  the  emp¬ 
tying  of  the  earth,  and  the  making  of  that  desolate, 
vet  there  are  some  few  who  understand  themselves 
better,  who  have  laid  up  their  treasure  in  heaven, 
and  not  in  things  below,  and  therefore  can  keep  up 
their  comfort  and  joy  in  God,  even  then  when  the 
earth  mourns  and  fades  away. 

Observe,  1.  The  small  number  of  this  remnant: 
(x>.  13.)  when  all  goes  to  ruin,  there  shall  be  as  the 
shaking  of  an  olive-tree,  and  the  gleaning-grapes, 
here  and  there  one,  who  shall  escape  the  common 
calamity,  (;is  Noah  and  his  family,  when  the  old 
world  was  drowned,)  that  shall  be  able  to  sit  down 
upon  a  heap  of  the  ruins  of  all  their  creature-com¬ 
forts,  and  even  then  rejoice  in  the  Lord,  (Hab.  iii. 
16 — 18.)  who,  when  all  faces  gather  blackness,  can 
lift  up  their  heads  with  joy,  Luke  xxi.  26, 28.  These 


111 

few  are  dispersed,  and  at  a  distance  from  each 
other,  like  the  gleanings  of  the  olive-tree;  and  they 
are  concealed,-  hid  under  the  leaves.  The  Lord 
only  knows  them  that  are  his,  the  world  does  not. 

2.  The  great  devotion  of  this  remnant,  which  is 
the  greater  for  their  having  so  narrowly  escaped 
this  great  destruction;  (v.  14.)  They  shall  lift  up 
their  voice,  they  shall  sing.  (1. )  They  shall  sing 
for  joy  in  their  deliverance;  when  the  mirth  of  car¬ 
nal  worldlings  ceases,  the  joy  of  the  saints  is  as  lively 
as  ever;  when  the  merry-hearted  do  sigh  because 
the  vine  languishes,  the  upright-hearted  do  sing 
because  the  covenant  of  grace,  the  fountain  of  their 
comforts,  and  the  foundation  of  their  hopes,  never 
fails;  they  that  rejoice  in  the  Lord,  can  rejoice  in 
tribulation,  and  by  faith  may  be  in  triumphs,  when 
all  about  them  are  in  tears.  (2. )  They  shall  sing 
to  the  glory  and  praise  of  God;  shall  sing  not  only 
for  the  mercy,  but  for  the  majesty,  of  the  Lords 
their  songs  are  awful  and  serious,  and  in  their  spi¬ 
ritual  joys  they  have  a  reverent  regard  to  the  great¬ 
ness  of  God,  and  keep  at  an  humble  distance,  when 
they  attend  him  with  their  praises.  The  majesty 
of  the  Lord,  which  is  matter  of  terror  to  wicked 
people,  furnishes  the  saints  with  songs  of  praise. 
They  shall  sing  for  the  magnificence,  or  transcen¬ 
dent  excellency,  of  the  Lord,  showed  both  in  his 
judgments  and  in  his  mercies;  for  we  must  sing,  and 
sing  unto  him,  of  both,  Ps.  ci.  1.  Those  who  have 
made,  or  are  making,  their  escape  from  the  land 
(that  being  emptied  and  made  desolate)  to  the  sea 
and  the  isles  of  the  sea,  shall  from  thence  cry  aloud ; 
their  dispersion  shall  help  to  spread  the  knowledge 
of  God,  and  they  shall  make  even  remote  shores  to 
ring  with  his  praises.  It  is  much  for  the  honour  of 
God,  if  those  who  fear  him  rejoice  in  him,  and 
praise  him,  even  in  the  most  melancholy  times. 

3.  Their  holy  zeal  to  excite  others  to  the  same 
devotion;  (v.  15.)  they  encourage  their  fellow-suf¬ 
ferers  to  do  likewise.  (1.)  Those  who  are  in  the 
fires,  in  the  furnace  of  affliction,  those  fires  by  which 
th  e  inhabitants  of  the  earth  are  burned,  v.  6.  Or, 
in  the  valleys,  the  low,  dark,  dirty  places.  (2.) 
Those  who  are  in  the  isles  of  the  sea,  whither  they 
are  banished,  or  are  forced  to  flee  for  shelter,  and 
hide  themselves  remote  from  all  their  friends;  they 
went  through  fire  and  water;  (Ps.  lxvi.  12.)  yet  in 
both  let  them  glorify  the  Lord,  and  glorify  him  as 
the  Lord  God  of  Israel.  They  who  through  grace 
can  glory  in  tribulation,  ought  to  glorify  God  in  tri¬ 
bulation,  and  give  him  thanks  for  their  comforts, 
which  abound  as  their  afflictions  do  abound.  We 
must  in  every  fire,  even  the  hottest,  in  every  isle, 
even  the  remotest,  keep  up  our  good  thoughts  of 
God;  when,  though  he  slay  us,  yet  we  trust  in  him, 
though,  for  his  sake,  we  are  killed  all  the  day  long, 
yet  none  of  these  things  move  us,  then  we  glorify 
the  Lord  in  the  fires:  thus  the  three  children,  and 
the  martyrs  that  sang  at  the  stake. 

16.  From  the  uttermost  part  of  the  earth 
have  we  heard  songs,  even  glory  to  the  righ¬ 
teous.  But  I  said,  My  leanness,  my  lean¬ 
ness,  wo  unto  me  !  the  treacherous  dealers 
have  dealt  treacherously;  yea,  the  treacher¬ 
ous  dealers  have  dealt  very  treacherously. 
17.  Fear,  and  the  pit,  and  the  snare,  are 
upon  thee,  O  inhabitant  of  the  earth.  1 8. 
And  it  shall  come  to  pass,  that  he  who  fleeth 
from  the  noise  of  the  fear  shall  fall  into  the 
pit;  and  he  that  cometh  up  out  of  the  midst 
of  the  pit  shall  be  taken  in  the  snare:  for  the 
windows  from  on  high  are  open,  and  the 


ISAIAH,  XXIV. 


foundations  of  the  earth  do  shake.  1 9.  rI  lie 
earth  is  utterly  broken  down,  .the  earth  is 
clean  dissolved,  the  earth  is  moved  exceed¬ 
ingly.  20.  The  earth  shall  reel  to  and  fro 
like  a  drunkard,  and  shall  be  removed  like  a 
cottage ;  and  the  transgression  thereof  shall 
be  heavy  upon  it;  and  it  shall  fall,  and  not 
rise  again.  21.  And  it  shall  come  to  pass 
in  that  day,  that  the  Lord  shall  punish  the 
host  of  the  high  ones  that  are  on  high,  and 
the  kings  of  the  earth  upon  the  earth.  22. 
And  they  shall  be  gathered  together  as  pri¬ 
soners  are  gathered  in  the  pit,  and  shall  be 
shut  up  in  the  prison,  and  after  many  days 
shall  they  be  visited.  23.  Then  the  moon 
shall  be  confounded,  and  the  sun  ashamed, 
when  the  Lord  of  hosts  shall  reign  in  mount 
Zion,  and  in  Jerusalem,  and  before  his  an¬ 
cients,  gloriously. 

These  verses,  as  those  before,  plainly  speak, 

I.  Comfort  to  saints;  they  may  be  driven,  by  the 
common  calamities  of  the  places  where  they  live, 
into  the  uttermost  parts  of  the  earth,  or  perhaps 
they  are  forced  thither  for  their  religion;  but  there 
they  are  singing,  not  sighing;  from  thence  have  we 
heard  songs,"  and  it  is  a  comfort  to  us  to  hear  them, 
to  hear  that  good  people  carry  their  religion  along 
with  them,  even  to  the  most  distant  regions,  to  hear 
that  God  visits  them  there,  and  gives  encourage¬ 
ment  to  hope  that  from  thence  he  will  gather  them, 
Deut.  xxx.  4.  And  this  is  their  song,  even  glory  to 
the  righteous:  the  word  is  singular,  and  may  import 
the  righteous  God,  who  is  just  in  all  he  has  brought 
upon  us;  this  is  glorifying  the  Lord  in  the  fires:  or, 
the  meaning  may  be,'  These  songs  redound  to  the 
glory  or  beauty  of  the  righteous  that  sing  them.  We 
do  the  gre